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Withdrawn Module: Fashion in History: A Global Look, 1300-2000 (HI287)

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Please note that this module was available
from 2007/08 to 2009/10, but has since
been withdrawn and is no longer available.


Tutor: Professor Giorgio Riello

Fashion can only be defined in time: multifarious, capricious and variable, its nature is encapsulated by change. Scholars have paid a great deal of attention to the role of fashion, both conceptually and practically. They have underlined how present- day societies find their identity and formulate their undestanding of change not simply by referring to technological progress, economic growth or cultural transformation in society, but also through the medium of fashion. Fashion is not just what we see on catwalks and glossy magazines. It is also the flux of colours, shapes, materialities and behaviours.

How did people understand the role of fashion in different periods, cultures and societies? And why was fashion so important in the life of millions of people at least since the middle ages? What is the relationship between economic change, social and cultural transformation and fashion? How peculiar is the notion of fashion as it is used today?

The aims and objectives of this undergraduate second-year option module are as follows:

  • to introduce students to the wide literature and relevant theories on fashion;
  • to introduce students to a variety of historical approaches, source materials (texts, iconography, artefacts) and learning environments (including museums and productive spaces);
  • to encourage students to critically examine models of fashion;
  • to encourage students to think across time, thematically, and comparatively across space;
  • to encourage students to assess the potentials and limits of fashion as a Western concept.