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(Re)Fashioning Resistance

Women, Dress and Sexuality in Iran

Shirin Abdmolaei

Functioning as a socio-political resource and method of discipline and control over women's bodies and sexualities, mandatory Islamic dress in Iran has been a central feature of the Islamic Regime's policy towards women. Intended to stand as a symbolic discourse of women's social and sexual submissiveness and docility, those who resist dress codes are subjected to severe punishment as well as stigmatisation. Despite repercussions, increasing numbers of urban Iranian women are refashioning their public bodies in new styles and appearances to not only resist dress codes but to more importantly challenge the regime's patriarchal discourses regarding women. This article seeks to examine the politicisation of Iranian women's bodies and sexualities through the emergence of this innovating women's resistance movement termed 'alternative dress'.

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Self-Fashioning and Auto-Ethnography

Samuel Baron's Description of Tonqueen (1686)

Anna Winterbottom

Samuel Baron's A Description of the Kingdom of Tonqueen (1686) contains many tropes of the European travel narrative. However, its author was no stranger to the country, but was born to a Vietnamese mother and Dutch father in mid-seventeenth-century Hanoi. Here I discuss how Baron fashioned his identity during his life to attract multiple patrons in the unstable maritime world of Southeast and East Asia. I re-read his Description as an example of “auto-ethnography,” showing how the author shaped his work to achieve certain ends. A comparison with a contemporary Chinese description of northern Vietnam reveals many similarities in tone and approach and helps situate Baron's text within the commercial and diplomatic exchanges of the region.

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Beyond the Discourse of Sexualization

An Inquiry into the Adultification of Tween Girls’ Dressing in Singapore

Bernice Loh

In order to explore the adultification of tween girls in Singapore through the way they dress, I begin this article by taking stock of the arguments in the discourse of sexualization. In further elucidating the cultural specificities of girlhood, I point out how tween girls’ fashioning of themselves after adults in Singapore presents some challenges to the ways that the adultification of tween girls’ dressing has been commonly theorized. I show that although the adultification of tween girls’ dressing forms a large part of the debate in the discourse of sexualization, tween girls’ fashioning of themselves after adults should not be assumed to be an exclusive outcome and process of improper and premature sexualization in culturally-specific contexts like Singapore. This article, therefore, explores a different way of thinking about tween girls who are dressing up in more adult-like ways, and suggests the need to be careful about extrapolating from arguments made in the (Western) discourse of sexualisation about this phenomenon.

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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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Fashioning Women's Citizenship

Contemporary Paradoxes

Katalin Fábián

Christien van den Anker and Jeroen Doomernik, eds., Trafficking and Women’s Rights, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, 256 pp., $74.95 (hb), ISBN 10-1-4039-4995-6; ISBN 13-978-1-4039-4995-0.

Audrey Guichon, Christien van den Anker and Irina Novikova, eds., Women’s Social Rights and Entitlements, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, 255 pp., $74.95 (hb), ISBN 10-1-4039- 4992-1; ISBN 13-978-1-4039-4992-9.

Sirkku K. Hellsten, Anne Maria Holli and Krassimira Daskalova, eds., Women’s Citizenship and Political Rights, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, 240 pp., $79.95 (hb), ISBN 10-1-4039-4994-8; ISBN 13-978-14-039-4994-3.

Jasmina Lukić, Joanna Regulska and Darja Zavirsek, eds., Women and Citizenship in Central and Eastern Europe, Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2006, 319 pp., $114.95 (hb), ISBN 10-0-7546-4662-9; ISBN 13-978-0-7546-4662-4.

Heather Widdows, Itziar Alkorta Idiakez and Aitziber Emaldi Cirión, eds., Women’s Reproductive Rights, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, 264 pp., $79.95 (hb), ISBN 10-1-4039-4993-X; ISBN 13-978-1-4039-4993-6.

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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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Gregory Baldi

Stephen Padgett, William E. Paterson, and Reimut Zohlnhöfer, ed. Developments in German Politics 4. 4th Revised edition (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

Simon Green and Ed Turner, ed. Understanding the Transformation of Germany’s CDU (London: Routledge, 2014)

Ştefan Sorin Mureşan, Social Market Economy: The Case of Germany (Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2014).

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The Battle of the Mountains

Repatriating Folly in France in the Aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars

Christine Haynes

At the beginning of the Second Restoration, Paris was swept by a mania for roller coasters, which were dubbed montagnes russes after a Russian tradition of sledding on ice hills. Situating this phenomenon in the context of the military occupation of France following the defeat of Napoleon, this article analyzes one of the many plays featuring these “mountains,” Le Combat des montagnes (“The Battle of the Mountains”), and especially two of its main characters, La Folie (Folly) and Calicot (Calico Salesman). The “battle” over the roller coasters, it argues, was really a contest over how to redefine national identity around consumer culture rather than military glory. Through the lens of the montagnes russes, the article offers a new perspective on the early Restoration as an aftermath of war.

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Why the Social Bond Cannot be a Passing Fashion

Reading Wittgenstein Against Lyotard

David Schalkwyk

There can be no doubt that Jean-Francois Lyotard’s The Postmodern Condition has more than lived up to its title insofar as it has been taken up as the signal explication, if not example, of the condition that the ‘globalised’ world finds itself in today.1 This paper attempts to demonstrate the incoherence of at least one of its arguments, namely that the postmodern marks the relegation of the social bond not only to the past but also to what is passé.

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Elizabeth Mittman

In the following article, I sketch two major pressures driving this film's peculiar recuperation of traditional representations of femininity alongside the rhetoric of equal rights. The first is the development of a Cold War politics of consumption, which, as recent research has shown, was crucial for national and cultural identity formation in the period of reconstruction after World War II. If, in the 20th century, political citizenship was "recast as consumer behavior," the postwar context of divided Germany offers a particularly powerful example of the complex imbrications of ideological and material cultures. As Ina Merkel's work amply illustrates, the competitive discourse of East versus West shaped GDR consumer culture from the outset. In addition, the implicit tension between the austere ideal of a new socialist producer nation and its population's unbroken, modern drive toward consumption appears to be at least superficially resolved along gender lines. Following prewar cultural formations, consumers were gendered as female, in contrast with male-identified producers. Thus, women could be mobilized as symbolic warriors along the battlefront between two economic systems. Frauenschicksale refers us repeatedly to the precise terms of this conflict.