formerly titled "Couture Culture: Sexual Politics on the Runway"
In light of pressing popular debates over the valuing of female bodies and female beauty in social and political life, this course explores the dominant visual paradigms that shape female embodiment today. Taking the glamorous figure of the runway model as our point of departure, we will put into dialogue the material and representational dimensions of model bodies, considering the different kinds of labor entailed by the female body’s insistent commodification, and exploring its psychosocial costs. Critical and feminist literature will help us read recent films, ethnographies and journalistic accounts of female body work, while weekly current events presentations enrich our discussions. Texts include Iris Marion Young’s On Female Body Experience , Zygmunt Bauman’s Wasted Lives , and Freud’s seminal 1917 essay, “Mourning and Melancholia.”