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First-Year Writing Seminar: La Mode: Fashioning Modernity

Semester and Year FA 2016
Course Number FIRST-UG418
Section 001
Instructor Charles Gelman
Days MW
Time 6:20 PM - 7:35 PM
Units 4
Level U


Open to Gallatin first-year students only.


How has fashion contributed to shaping the visual, tactile, and libidinal environment in which we live and the ways in which we live in it? How do changing fashions reflect but also factor in the formation and transformation of cultures? Students in this course will develop their own writing abilities by engaging in dialogue with a tradition of writing on fashion that dates back to the early nineteenth century, and that encompasses journalism, sociology, aesthetics, political economy, and philosophy. Over the course of the semester students will be introduced to a wide range of authors, texts, intellectual traditions, and theoretical approaches to the study of fashion, as well as to contemporary issues bearing on the clothed body in both Western and non-Western contexts. In addition to encouraging students to think critically about the place of fashion in modern life, the course assignments aim help them to develop the capacity to address complex questions with both clarity and substance, to read and revise their own writing, and to craft well-constructed and compelling arguments. Readings will include texts by Honoré de Balzac, Charles Baudelaire, Georg Simmel, Adolf Loos, Thorstein Veblen, Roland Barthes, Caroline Evans, Pierre Bourdieu, Judith Butler, Leila Ahmed, and Joan Wallach Scott, among others.


All Syllabi

Course Type

First-Year Program: Writing Seminars (FIRST-UG)