I’m pleased to be co-organizing a session with scholar Ann Tartsinis at the 2020 CAA conference in Chicago. It will be held on Friday, February 14, 2020, at the most excellent time slot of: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
The topic reflects feelings we both have about sometimes being fish out of water in trying to negotiate the inter/trans/extra-disciplinary nature of fashion studies. For me, I often question what and how a conservator is supposed to approach fashion studies. Here is the session brief:
Is there a correct or wrong way to do fashion studies? The field has rapidly grown ever since the 1998 issue of Fashion Theorysurveyed the methodological status of its emergence. The major concern then was identifying and reconciling what dress historian Lou Taylor termed “the great divide” between practice-based (museum-oriented) and theoretical-based (academia-oriented) approaches to the study of fashion. Since then, approaches using fashion as a lens to engage and explore our material and visual world have exploded, uniting scholars from disparate academic disciplines—from art and design history to anthropology, among others—under what we now call “fashion studies”. Fashion deeply resonates as a scholarly subject for those concerned with debates on gender, modernity, and globalization as well as other sites of critical inquiry. The question remains: where does fashion studies begin and end? Is fashion studies research permitted to travel across or exist between disciplinary borders? Might we frame fashion studies as fundamentally interdisciplinary, multi-disciplinary and/or cross-disciplinary? There remains much anxiety around policing the boundaries of scholarly discourse, leading to questions of legitimacy and membership (Who is allowed to do this? What are the requisite credentials?) What is the state of the field and how might we advance the understanding of fashion studies as a central node in a dynamic constellation of research areas across the humanities and sciences?