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Women Writing Fashion (NeMLA 51st Annual Convention)

Boston, MA
Organization: Northeast Modern Language Association
Event: NeMLA 51st Annual Convention
Categories: Gender & Sexuality, Women's Studies, Cultural Studies
Event Date: 2020-03-05 to 2020-03-08 Abstract Due: 2019-09-30

In The Fashion System, semiotician and fashion theorist Roland Barthes argues that there is an intimate relationship between language and imagery in the creation and representation of “capital F” Fashion. Fashion acts as a type of “text,” surrounding the human form in signifiers that speak to a public and private persona. Capitalizing on the newly emergent, interdisciplinary conversations surrounding the relationship between text and the sartorial (see Burstein, Gammel and Mulhallen, Koppen, and Ribiero, among others), this panel is focused on the employment of fashion by female-identifying authors to discuss issues of inequity, specifically surrounding the themes of gender, sexuality, race, and class in their writing. Fashion, often associated with and defined through the feminine, is a powerful lens through which to explore the publications of these authors, works that have offered marginalized voices a fictional space where self-expression is prioritized. This panel invites papers that examine and exemplify the ways that female-identifying writers have used fashion, dress, style, and accessories in their narratives as a strategy for amplifying these voices and identities.

In this panel, the relationship between text and the sartorial and the capitalization on this relationship by female-identifying authors will be explored. It welcomes papers that examine texts across time periods and in all languages. Given the focus of this panel on centring voices across cultures, we especially welcome papers discussing global texts, authors writing in all languages, and analyzing works written from non-Western perspectives.



Jaclyn Marcus