Anthropology 269
Fashion and Consumption
Spring 2019
MWF 11-11:50 am

Professor Ann Marie Leshkowich
Beaven 230 • • (508) 793-2788 • fax (508) 793-3088

Course Description: Clothing is among the most visible and meaningful ways in which we express our identities. At the same time, our clothes are material items produced and consumed through an ever-expanding global fashion industry. This course will explore the various social, cultural, economic, political, and personal meanings associated with fashion and consumption. Combining anthropological and historical methods, we will focus on such questions as:

What role does fashion play in the construction of identity?
Why are fashion and consumption seen as feminine concerns?
What role has clothing played in political and cultural resistance movements?
How is clothing used to differentiate people, in both positive and negative ways?
What are the historical origins of consumer societies?
How has consumer capitalism become a global phenomenon? With what consequences?
Readings will include social theory about fashion and consumption (Bourdieu, Barthes, and Veblen) and ethnographies focusing on such topics as Muslim fashion around the world, street style blogging, used clothing in Zambia, punks in Britain, American feminists' critiques of the fashion and beauty industry, and the global popularity of blue jeans. Particular attention will be paid to the relationship between consumption of fashion and gender, race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality.

Course Syllabus

Writing Assignments

Lecture Handouts

Study Guide Questions for Readings

Exam Review Materials

Announcements: Will be posted here as necessary.

"I totally agree with you about capitalism,
neo-colonialism, and globalization, but you
really come down too hard on shopping."


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Sociology and Anthropology


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