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Women “Making History” in Museums

The Case of Female Curators in Postwar New Zealand

Bronwyn Labrum

This article examines three remarkable New Zealand women, Nancy Adams, Rose Reynolds, and Edna Stephenson, who, as honorary or part-time staff, each began the systematic collecting and display of colonial history at museums in Wellington, Christchurch, and Auckland in the 1950s. Noting how little research has been published on women workers in museums, let alone women history curators, it offers an important correction to the usual story of the heroic, scientific endeavors of male museum directors and managers. Focusing largely on female interests in everyday domestic life, textiles, and clothing, their activities conformed to contemporary gendered norms and mirrored women’s contemporary household role with its emphasis on housekeeping, domestic interiors, and shopping and clothing. This article lays bare the often ad hoc process of “making history” in these museums, and adds complexity and a greater fluidity to the interpretations we have to date of women workers in postwar museums.

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Miniature Bride or Little Girl Religious

First Communion Clothing in Post-war Spanish Culture and Society

Jessamy Harvey

The tradition of religious clothing for children is relatively unexplored: this article develops the premise that debates about the links between the sacred and the market go deeper than concern about consumption, and bring to the surface issues of identity. Through exploring the historical development of the First Communion, not as religious ritual but as Catholic consumer culture, the article turns to analyse girls' communicant dress in Spain between the 1940s and 1960s which were the early decades of a dictatorial Regime (1939 to 1975) marked by an ideology of National-Catholicism. General Francisco Franco y Bahamonde, leader of the military rebellion against the elected government in 1936, ruled Spain until his death. One of my aims is to correct a tendency to make the little girl dressed in bridal wear the most visible sign because to do so disregards the cultural practice of wearing clothing to perform piety, signal a vocation or express gratitude for religious intercession.

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Gold Teeth, Indian Dresses, Chinese Lycra and ‘Russian’ Hair

Embodied Diplomacy and the Assemblages of Dress in Tajikistan

Diana Ibañez-Tirado

This article examines the assemblages of dress in Tajikistan as a showground of everyday diplomacy, and seeks to stimulate recognition of the alternative sites of diplomacy that play an active role in mediating political relations between diverse nation-states, and the brand images of nations. I suggest that the term ‘embodied diplomacy’ is useful to convey the processes through which Tajikistan’s people negotiate the government-led dress codes and navigate social pressures about public gendered images. The incorporation of so-called foreign items into people’s apparel triggers situations in which the assemblages of particular bodies and items of dress most clearly emerge as diplomatic sites. Such everyday situations reveal Tajikistan’s residents as diplomats insofar as they reflect on their roles as the country’s representatives at the same time as they deploy their skills of communication, persuasion and mediation to negotiate between compulsory dress codes, incoming fashion trends, family expectations and personal aesthetics.

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Breeding Dissoluteness and Disobedience

Clothing Laws as Tudor Colonialist Discourse

Margaret Rose Jaster

In 1589, William Herbert, a frustrated functionary of Queen Elizabeth’s government in Ireland, advanced ‘A note of sutch reasons as mooued mea toe putt the statute In execution agaynst Irish habites’.

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The White Cotton Robe

Charisma and Clothes in Tibetan Buddhism Today

Magdalena Maria Turek

Contextualized in discussions around charisma as originally conceived by Max Weber, this article examines the case of Tsültrim Tarchin, a charismatic adept from Eastern Tibet whose everyday dress consists of a specialized garment, a white cotton robe. Earned as a mark of virtuosity in the Tantric tummo practice and worn as a sign of an ascetic lifestyle, this robe functions as a key instrument in Tsültrim Tarchin’s charismatic actions. More than a repository of power and beyond insignia that signify privilege or superiority, the religious garment I consider in this article does not merely channel the routinized charisma of the lineage. It also effectively augments the master’s personal power through the performativity of its symbolism, while its real potency lies in structuring all meanings within the master’s network of influence.

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'Both in Men's Clothing'

Gender, Sovereignty and Insecurity in Richard Marsh's The Beetle

Victoria Margree

On its publication in 1897 Richard Marsh’s The Beetle was more popular than Dracula. However, in the latter part of the twentieth century its popularity with both readers and critics waned, and it is only now that Marsh’s story of the Egyptian beetle-creature seeking vengeance on a British politician is attracting renewed critical interest. It is not my intention here to take serious issue with any of these important and revealing critical discussions, which variously explore the novel in terms of fears over ‘reverse colonisation’; depictions of the ‘abhumanness’ of the female body; and cultural debates on the nature and significance of trance-states. Rather, I wish to open up discussion of the novel by identifying some of the important and peculiar features of this – admittedly very peculiar – novel, that have not so far received the attention they deserve. These thus-far critically neglected features include: the significance of the opening chapters’ emphases upon vagrancy and destitution; the novel’s exploration of ‘political authority’ and its ambivalence towards its central male character, the liberal politician; and the representation of the New Woman. More specifically I wish to investigate the historical and ideological motivations for what I consider to be the novel’s conflation of its New Woman character with the figure of the emasculated and vagrant clerk.

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Citizenship in religious clothing?

Navayana Buddhism and Dalit emancipation in late 1990s Uttar Pradesh

Nicolas Jaoul

B. R. Ambedkar (1891–1956) advocated the religious conversion of Dalits to Navayana Buddhism as the pillar of the future struggle against caste. This article examines the implications of this turn to religion for the Dalit movement. As shown by its convergence with Marx’s critique of bourgeois citizenship, Navayana exceeds the framework of political liberalism. It is argued, though, that Navayana is neither an orientalized version of liberal politics, nor is it fully contained by Marxism. The ethnography highlights the revival of Navayana in the 1990s in a context of disillusion with institutional politics. With the rise to political power of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in this period, Uttar Pradesh emerged as the new center of Dalit politics. However, the BSP government also disappointed many former activists, who then turned to the Navayana movement. What spaces and possibilities did Navayana open up to further the task of Dalit emancipation that political power failed to achieve? The ethnography highlights the Navayana movement’s practical difficulties and dilemmas, caused by its being advocated and practiced by secular minded activists hostile to popular religiosity.

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“A Story, Exemplified in a Series of Figures“

Paper Doll versus Moral Tale in the Nineteenth Century

Hannah Field

Early in the nineteenth century the London publishers and printsellers, S. and J. Fuller, packaged paper dolls and storybooks together in their Temple of Fancy paper doll books. This article examines the tension between the narratives of these works—typically moral tales for children in which a love of clothing is punished—and the accompanying paper dolls, which celebrate costume and dressing up. The textual morals against love of clothing are gendered in problematic ways, with female characters mortified for this flaw more readily than male characters. However, the variety of potential reading experiences offered by the form of the paper doll book, in which picture and word are separate, is viewed as a challenge to the gendered moral content of the stories. Ultimately this article argues that the form of the paper doll book sheds new light on D. F. McKenzie's (1986) ideas about how readers make meaning from texts.

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Grant Amyot and Francesco Marangoni

In 2005, the flagging competitiveness of the Italian economy, which

had preoccupied journalistic and academic commentators for the past

two or three years, was brought forcefully to the attention of public

and politicians by the sudden upsurge of Third World competition,

especially from China. With the ending of the Multifiber Agreement

on 1 January, Chinese clothing and textile products were allowed free

entry into the European Union, and Italy, with its large number of

firms in this sector, was especially vulnerable.

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Stanley Chojnacki

Venetian patrician wives of the late Middle Ages brought to their marriages material goods and family loyalty, both vitally important to the prosperity of conjugal families. The crucial resource was the dowry. During the marriage it sustained the family economy under the husband’s administration. Afterward, as the wife’s inherited property, it returned to her, supporting her widowhood and benefiting her children and kin. The economic connection established by the dowry, which included a corredo, a gift to the groom, encouraged collaboration between families, demonstrated in spouses’ appointment of both agnates and affines as testamentary executors. Moreover, accompanying the financial contents of the dowry were trousseaux consisting of clothing and furnishings for the bride, bestowed by her family and supplemented by the groom. These items further enhanced the relationships forged in marriage by giving visual testimony of a married woman’s position as the bridge between her natal and marital families.