Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592: Clothing and Society

Instructor: Harriet McBride

Dress is a distinctive characteristic of human existence. Clothing forms a person's nearest environment. As individuals, cover, adorn, and modify their bodies, they record their past, announce their presence and shape their future. We human beings devote enormous time, energy and resources to preparing our bodies for presentation to ourselves and others. Clothing is a critical factor in issues of gender, age, religion and politics. The design, manufacture, and marketing of clothing is a singular sector of the global economy. In a seminar format, we will touch on all these issues, and class members will discuss how some social theories are manifested through dress. As a group, we will explore how clothing changes human behaviors and how clothing documents the history of mankind. Readings will include popular literature as will as historical and academic texts. The class will examine historical garments and contemporary fashions, and each participant will de-construct a garment, to discover the story within it.

Last Update: February 6, 2017