Fashioning Heritage

Themes:
Changes in Heritage (New Manifestations)Notions of Heritage
What:
Regular session
When:
Sunday Jun 05   09:00 AM to 10:30 AM (1 hour 30 minutes)
Tags:
Changes in heritageNew manifestations of heritageNotions of heritage
Discussion:
0
In endeavouring to answer the question "What does heritage change?" this proposed session, "Fashioning Heritage," will call for papers that critically examine the way in which one of the main functions of dress is to locate or position individuals and communities in space and time. The temporal realm can be conceived as personally transitioning from and through certain life stages, being culturally defined as well as conceiving gender differently by dress and textiles. Transitions are visually marked by a change in bodily representation. Christenings, circumcision rites, communion, bar mitzvahs, graduations and weddings are some of those shifts clearly associated with dress. Using the definition of dress by Mary Ellen Roach-Higgins and Joanne B. Eicher (1992), we might also include explicit body-art markings, such as scarification, as also indicating transition through rites of passage at a permanent level on the body.
Space is also marked by clothes and cloth as people literally move from one space to another. From private to public, from profane to sacred spaces or undergoing diasporic processes, all can be expressed through fashioning the body in a way that articulates the fluidity of identity. While theses transition markers require different levels of literacy—a reading of patterns, motifs and colours, they nonetheless are representations and performances that can be for both insider and outsider audiences.
Dress is portable, as are the skills that are required to craft bodies. As communities indeed move around the globe, it raises the questions of how does a community imagine itself. What does it require to construct its identity, both tangible and intangible, through dress practices?
The aim of the session is to promote the discussion of the politics of dress and the role of the fashioned body in heritage. Thinking about heritage through fashion has been the domain of folkloric studies. However, since Jennifer Craik’s ground-breaking book The Face of Fashion (1994), there has been a steep rise in critical studies in fashion theory and interest in the politics of dress. When we write about fashion we tend to discuss individuality, as a personal act, here the intention is to discuss identity, community and relationships through clothing. This clothing may often be considered as cultural heritage items hence often locating the wearer in a particular political framework. Categorization is deeply political. In teasing out these issues, which may seem like boundaries, no doubt papers will find that there are ambiguous boundaries which unravel between the body and the cloth. 
Topics to be considered are:
• Transitional dress as narratives of change; 
• Crafting heritage and community development; 
• Inclusion and exclusion in dress practices; 
• Fragmented communities brought together through dress; 
• Social cohesion and civic engagement through dress; 
• Gender and dress.
Moderator
The Australian National University
Lecturer Museums Studies

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