[Msa-discuss] Call for papers: Special Issue of ELN, "Fashion's Borders"

Celia Marshik celia.marshik at stonybrook.edu
Mon Mar 2 11:24:40 EST 2020

I'm pleased to share a call for papers for a special issue of *English
Language Notes *(April 2022 publication date)*. *Kindly circulate within
your networks. Thank you!

This special issue of *ELN *takes up the complex relationship between
clothing and place and seeks to examine the transcultural flow of
commodities (specifically clothing and fashionable objects) both within and
across national borders. Fashion, we assert, is the cultural medium through
which borders shift and move.

Fashion theorists, dress historians and literary critics (such as Pierre
Bourdieu, Diana Crane, and Rosy Aindow) have long argued that the twentieth
century spelled the end of localized clothing cultures and regional dress,
positing a diversity and richness of clothing practices that were effaced
by the homogenizing powers of modernity. With the rise of ready to wear,
such thinking suggests, clothing became less locally produced than mass
distributed across nations and national borders, resulting in consumers who
no longer knew where their garments had been manufactured or who had made
them. This understanding of dress history largely credits local elites with
knowledge of, and access to, imported styles and materials, placing modern
consumers in an ever shifting game whose fashion rules are determined by
connoisseurs who regulate social rank.  Arjun Appardurai, in his work on
the cultural circulation of things, has remarked that in the domain of
fashion what is “restricted and controlled is *taste* in an *ever-changing*
universe of commodities, with the illusion of complete interchangeability
and unrestricted access.” Such illusion, while challenged by the everyday
clothing practices of ordinary individuals, remains powerful, resting as it
does on the assumption that dress is “democratic” and subject to
accelerated and widespread changes.

Two salient contemporary examples of what we might call the aesthetics of
sartorial disorientation can be found in the work of the German
photographer, Iwajla Klinek, who has documented various micro-worlds that
continue to preserve ancient traditions and rituals, and Zoe Leonard, who
tracks the repurposing of clothing across national borders. Klinek has
photographed children in the villages of Lausitz, The Black Forest, and
Romania wearing traditional dress, and she has used classical portraiture
to capture how contemporary subjects seek to preserve some semblance of
ancient ritual through costume, at the same time that she reminds us of the
transcultural flow of commodities, the relation between indigenous and mass
produced goods, the role of the sacred in fashion, and how certain cultural
objects can break down rigid boundaries between the tourist and the native.
Klinek’s work is global in its outreach and reminds us that both traditional
costumes and manufactured sartorial creations continue to play an important
imaginative role in our negotiation of “authenticity” contemporaneously.
Similarly, Leonard’s photographs document the circulation of recycled
merchandise, such as used clothing, in order to track the circulation of
goods and the homogenization of diverse geographical locations in the 21st
century. Both of these examples illustrate a key conceptual dynamic that
this *ELN* issue will explore: how fashionable objects and garments get
culturally redefined, and what role the decontextualized circulation of
those objects play across a range of historical periods, disciplines, and
cultural traditions.

We invite papers that examine how clothing is placed in particular texts,
contexts or commercial venues, how it travels, and how it places or locates
others in certain national and transnational contexts. We are interested in
essays that examine the body’s borders as it intersects with larger
defining regional and geopolitical borders—particularly how the
institutional, spatial, and temporal journey of fashionable garments and
objects travel across time. If one of the more pernicious symptoms of
global capitalism has been the spread of an overwhelming uniformity of
style and appearance, then how do local cultures and individual or
community forms of expression respond to or resist such universalizing
impulses?  How do literary works register such responses? To what extent
have pre-industrial local clothing cultures been influenced by the fashions,
textiles, and materials from elsewhere, and how? What texts might allow us
to think about the role of dress under the impact of colonial rule or in
contact zones? Where can we glimpse pockets of local dress culture despite
the pressures of modernity and globalization? How are imported items
from markets
in Africa, Eastern Europe, Cuba, Mexico, the Middle East and elsewhere
re-interpreted for new audiences? And lastly how do literary and visual
texts depict the politics of taste and connoisseurship in the
representation of international commerce with respect to both ready-made
fashions and haute couture?

Prospective authors should submit a 300–500 word proposal, clearly
indicating the nature of the proposed contribution and accompanied by a
brief biographical note and 2-page CV to the editors by November 1, 2020.
We welcome both standard-length (20-25pgs) and shorter (10-15pgs)
contributions; please specify what type of essay is proposed in the
abstract. We also encourage collaborative work and papers that are
submitted together as topical clusters or a roundtable discussion among

Please direct queries and proposals to the special issue editors Jane
Garrity <Jane.Garrity at Colorado.edu> and Celia Marshik <
celia.marshik at stonybrook.edu>. Include “Fashion’s Borders CFP” in your
subject line.
Celia Marshik, Professor and Chair
Past President, Modernist Studies Association <https://msa.press.jhu.edu/>
Department of English (Twitter: @EGLStonyBrook)
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-5350
(631) 632-7415
celia.marshik at stonybrook.edu
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