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The Triumph of Fashion: A Global History, with Ulinka Rublack

Date and Time: 
Tuesday, March 9, 2021. 12:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Zoom
Workshop: 
Reframing Fashion Studies: Performance, Gender, and the Body
Meeting Description: 

Global history is often written by historians who privilege accounts of economic, political, legal and institutional structures, but it also increasingly aims to chart changes in attitudes as well as subjectivities by attending to social practices and narratives that are rooted in everyday life and in the imagination. The history of material culture and dress and fashion in particular offers a unique opportunity to so, and is most likely to succeed if it asks not just about supply and demand, technologies or the importance of sumptuary laws, but in an anthropological vein about who gave what meaning to dress, why, and to what effect. Rather than specific countries or dynasties, the focus of this talk will be on the interconnections, cultural exchanges, and those multicentric developments which point to the fact that from 1300 onwards, larger areas of the globe related to each other through their interest in fashion. The first part of this lecture provides some examples for this. Its second part turns to the importance of global accessories. A final part examines the question of how these developments reshaped questions about cultural difference and the ethos of textile production which stay relevant for today.

Ulinka Rublack is professor of Early Modern history at Cambridge University and a Fellow of St. John´s College. Her recent books include The Astronomer & the Witch: Johannes Kepler’s Fight For His Mother (Oxford University Press: 2015), translated into five languages, and, as editor, the Oxford Handbook of the Protestant Reformation (2016). In addition to research on Reformation and on gender history, Rublack specializes in the history of dress. Her books on this subject include the prize-winning study Dressing Up: Cultural Identity in Renaissance Europe (Oxford University Press: 2010), and, as co-editor, The First Book of Fashion (Bloomsbury: 2016) and The Right to Dress: Sumptuary Legislation in a Global Perspective, 1300-1900 (Cambridge University Press: 2019). She is currently completing book projects entitled "Art and Society in Early Modern Germany and "The Triumph of Fashion: A New History". Rublack is a Fellow of the British Academy and in 2019 was awarded Germany´s Historiker-prize.

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