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Fashion Objects in Globalizing Contexts: Dressing Bodies, Cultures, and Nations (ACLA 2018)

From the American Comparative Literature Association

Fashion objects are intimately connected with corporeal, cultural, social, and gender experiences, as well as the economies of fashioning and re-fashioning across places and times. Items of clothing reflect the priorities of local and international economies, political agendas, and national identities, in addition to collective and personal inclinations. Fashion objects are highly charged cultural instruments animated by cross-cultural and transnational flows that actively participate in the social world and cultural history.

This seminar seeks to explore the centrality of fashion objects (garments, accessories, jewelry, textiles, fashion dolls, etc.), examining the way they shape cultural attitudes, cross borders, and influence national politics in global, colonial, and post-colonial contexts, ranging from ancient to contemporary times. It aims to bring together scholars from different disciplines and interests, providing an opportunity for the exchange of new ideas and cross-cultural research that both challenges and exceeds boundaries traditionally considered in the study of fashion and material culture studies.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following themes: 

- Cross-cultural practices and patterns of dress and/or body adornment

- Production and distribution of clothing (across cultures, entangled, comparative)

- Transnational identities shaped by global consumerism

- Gendered and ethnic shaping of dress and dress practice

- Politics of dress in colonial, post-colonial, and globalizing contexts

- Circulation and re-use of items of clothing across time and space

- The role of garments in colonies or contact zones

- Appropriation/acculturation of designs, materials, and motifs

- Decoration, adornment, and modification of the body in globalizing networks

- Fashion objects and global fetishism

- Representations of clothing cultures in fiction, film, popular culture, and visual arts

Papers that investigate the global circulation of fashion objects from an innovative and interdisciplinary way are especially encouraged. Please submit 200-300 word abstracts via the ACLA portal, and direct all questions to Inés Corujo-Martín ( and Agata Zborowska (

The seminar will be held during the annual ACLA conference at UCLA, March 29-April 1, 2018.

Later Event: September 29
Passing: Fashion in American Cities