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From its beginnings in the fifteenth century, intensified interest in fashion and the study of fashion over the last thirty years has led to a vast and varied literature on the subject. There is now barely a discipline in the humanities or social sciences that does not take a position on what fashion is, what it does and how it works.
This collection of essays surveys and contextualises the ways in which a wide range of disciplines, (including sociology, cultural studies, anthropology, fashion history, gender studies and cultural history), have used different theoretical approaches to explain, and sometimes to explain away, the astonishing variety, complexity and beauty of fashion. Themes covered include individual, social and gender identity, the erotic, consumption and communication.
Each extract is introduced, placed in its historical and theoretical context and its significance for fashion theory is explained.
By collecting together some of the most influential and important writers on fashion and exposing the ideas and theories behind what they say, this unique collection of extracts and essays brings to light the presuppositions involved in the things we think and say about fashion.
Interweaving nuanced discussions of politics, visuality, and gender, Gender and Activism in a Little Magazine uncovers the complex ways that gender figures into the graphic satire created by artists for the New York City-based socialist journal, the Masses. This exceptional magazine was published between 1911 and 1917, during an unusually radical decade in American history, and featured cartoons drawn by artists of the Ashcan School and others, addressing questions of politics, gender, labor and class. Rather than viewing art from the Masses primarily in terms of its critical social stances or aesthetic choices, however, this study uses these images to open up new ways of understanding the complexity of early 20th-century viewpoints. By focusing on the activist images found in the Masses and studying their unique perspective on American modernity, Rachel Schreiber also returns these often-ignored images to their rightful place in the scholarship on American modernism. This book demonstrates that the centrality of the Masses artists' commitments to gender and class equality is itself a characterization of the importance of these issues for American moderns. Despite their alarmingly regular reliance on gender stereotypesÃ¢"and regardless of any assessment of the efficacy of the artists' activismÃ¢"the graphic satire of the Masses offers invaluable insights into the workings of gender and the role of images in activist practices at the beginning of the last century.