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Unit information: Geographies of Fashion and Style in 2020/21

Unit name Geographies of Fashion and Style
Unit code GEOG30027
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Patchett
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

Either GEOG20006 More-than-Human Geographies: Animal Geographies and Cultures of Nature or GEOG25110 Philosophy, Social Theory and Geography

Co-requisites

None

School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description

Fashion and style are inherently geographical practices. They span scales, from world to body; times, from “pre-history” to “postfashion”; speeds, from fast to slow; and terrains, from cotton field to catwalk. Research on fashion within geography has traditionally, and importantly, taken critical aim at cultures of consumption and the cheap labour and post-colonial geographies of the contemporary garment industry. The fashion industry has actively used geographical strategies of association and dissociation to create and reproduce hierarchies of value: bringing certain spaces, places and people into high relief whilst masking the global inequalities, abuses of labour standards and environmental catastrophes that underpin the industry. Fashion studies have similarly been adept at overlooking, Othering and distancing non-European fashion systems: whereby European fashion and its capitals are centred while Other fashions are made peripheral and put in aspic. This course aims to challenge the Eurocentric cultural episteme of the fashion industry and fashion studies, by drawing on globally-orientated, decentered approaches to the study of fashion and style. Key to this aim will be developing a relational and ecological view of fashion that begins to break down distinctions between here and there, fast and slow, grown and made. To do so the course will introduce and critically evaluate the work of key cultural theorists and experimental practitioners who are thinking and practicing - and making us think and practice - fashion and style anew.

Through lectures, seminars, and visits to exhibitions you will explore global perspectives and practices of fashion and style. You will examine fashion and style through texts, visual images, material objects and processes of growing and making, as lived experience and performative practice and crucially, as a concept and practice that travels. The course will cover pertinent themes including: gender, subjectivity and the body; globalization, modernity, and post-colonialism; and practices of growing, making and wearing. Together we will piece together more inclusive, global histories and practices of fashion and style.

Unit Aims

  • To critique the Eurocentric cultural episteme of the fashion industry and fashion history/studies.
  • To explore and critically apply globally-orientated, decentred approaches to the study of fashion and style.
  • To critically evaluate the work of key cultural theorists and experimental practitioners who are thinking and practising fashion and style anew.
  • To enable students to develop their own ways of thinking and practicing fashion and style anew.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1. Critically assess contemporary theoretical and empirical debates in the human geographical analysis of fashion and style.

2. Communicate the geographical complexities of defining and describing fashion and style.

3. Critically evaluate fashion theory and history with particular attention paid to global perspectives, frameworks and case studies.

4. Critically evaluate contemporary cultural theory to think and practice fashion and style anew.

5. Critically evaluate the inter-disciplinary nature of studying fashion, and so further an awareness of relevant conceptual and empirical research in cognate disciplines such as: history, philosophy, sociology, anthropology and cultural studies.

6. Demonstrate a critical understanding of fashion and its intersection with post-colonialism, race, ethnicity, gender, nation, nature and culture.

7. Demonstrate a critical understanding of fashion and its intersection with post-colonialism, race, ethnicity, gender, nation, nature and culture.

8. Demonstrate analytical and conceptual skills in written work.

The following transferable skills are developed in this Unit:

  • Written and oral communication
  • Discursive, material and performative analysis of multiple and interdependent forms, including objects, garments, visual images, texts, etc.
  • Lateral, critical and analytical reasoning
  • Planning and implementing applied curatorial research projects

Teaching details

The unit will be comprised of 10 one-hour lectures, 5 two-hour seminars and 1 all-day field trip to Bath Fashion Museum.

Assessment Details

Assessment will be comprised of two coursework-based summative
assessments. Each will be worth 50% of the overall unit mark.
•Six 150-word exhibition panels (50%) [ILOs 1-8]
•One 2,500-word essay (50%) [ILOs 1-8]

Reading and References

Essential
Barthes, R. (1983) The Fashion System. University of California Press. Crewe, L. (2017) The
Geographies of Fashion: Consumption, Space, and Value. London: Bloomsbury.
Gaugele, E. and Titton, M. (2020) Fashion and Postcolonial Critique. MIT Press.
Manning, E. (2016) The Minor Gesture. Duke University Press.
Welters, L. and Lillethun, A. (2018) Fashion History: A Global View. London: Bloomsbury.
Recommended
Gwilt, A. Payne, A. and RüThschilling, E. (2019) Global Perspectives on Sustainable Fashion.
London: Bloomsbury.
Luvaas, B. and Eicher, B. (2019) The Anthropology of Dress and Fashion: A Reader. London:
Bloomsbury.
Manning, E. (2012) Relationscapes: Movement, Art, Philosophy. MIT Press. Ross, R. (2008) Clothing:
a global history: Or, the Imperialists’ New Clothes. Polity Press.
Sauvagngures, A. (2016) Artmachines: Deleuze, Guattari, Simondon.
Edinburgh University

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