Passing: Fashion In American Cities Call for Papers

Pepper LaBeija, Paris Is Burning (1990)

Hello,

Welcome back to the Documenting Fashion blog – hope you’ve all had a good summer.

We will be returning to our usual schedule with new posts on Tuesdays and Fridays – and don’t forget you can subscribe by entering your email address on the right of the page to be sure never to miss anything.

The new term starts in a couple of weeks, when I’ll be welcoming a new intake of students. In the meantime, let’s see what’s coming up … today some information about the Call for Papers for our amazing conference Passing: Fashion in American Cities in May.

And to develop this fascinating theme – some stills from Jennie Livingston’s incredible 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning exploring the world of New York’s 1980s drag ball subculture and the beautiful, intricate performances, in which contestants reimagined themselves through dress and vogueing.

Rebecca.

Paris Is Burning, dir. Jennie Livingston (1990)

Passing: Fashion in American Cities

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London

Saturday 5 May 2018
10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Organised by

  • Rebecca Arnold: The Courtauld Institute of Art
  • David Peters Corbett: The Courtauld Institute of Art

The idea of ‘passing’ and the issues it raises in relation to contemporary and historical notions of self-fashioning and identities is of central importance in a period of political, social and cultural upheaval.  The notion of passing also speaks to current discrimination and civil rights issues, and this conference seeks to examine the ways dress has been used to ‘pass’, to negotiate, resist and refuse contemporary prejudice, discrimination and status and beauty ideals.  We aim to explore dress, the body and the idea of ‘becoming’ – in relation to gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and class, with the city as a key locus for attempts to outwit social and cultural mores through the artful deployment of dress.

We welcome proposals that discuss actual dress, as well as its visual representation, with focus on the Americas as a diverse geographical zone in which growing urban centres and mass immigration have hot-housed conformity and, in turn, its resistance.

The conference seeks to highlight and interrogate this important aspect of urban self-fashioning to understand its place within dress practices and visual culture, and to develop analysis of its place within American social life.

Submission process: Please submit abstracts of 150-200 words in English, along with a short biography of approximately 100 words to passingconference@gmail.com by 29 September 2017.