HISTART 497-002

Upper Level Seminar: Fictions of Fashion in 19th c. France - Art, Literature, Theory

1175 NQ
MW 10-11:30am
3 Credit Seminar
Meets with HISTART 689.002

This course will examine the uses of fashion as a theme and a means of signification in the literary and visual culture of Paris, the self-declared capital of la mode. With the emergence in nineteenth-century France of a large middle-class and the increasing availability of mass-produced merchandise from around the world, displayed in new commercial emporia such as the department store, fashion became a wide-spread statement of modern identities and behaviours for both men and women. We consider the theorization of fashion as the quintessential emblem of modernity in this period and later.

Textbooks/Other Materials: The subject of fashion will be studied in texts by Balzac, Baudelaire, Barbey d'Aurevilly, Zola, and Mallarmé. The artists to be studied include Manet, Monet, Morisot, Winterhalter, Tissot and fashion illustrators such as Constantin Guys. Twentieth-century theorists of fashion studied include Walter Benjamin and Roland Barthes.

Course Requirements: Modes of assessment include participation in class discussions, a short paper (c. 5 pages), and a research term-paper (10-12 pages).

Intended Audience: Advanced undergraduates; graduate students enrolled in the course will have extra meetings and coursework. This interdisciplinary course is team-taught between History of Art and Romance Languages and Literatures. Texts will be read in English translation but students are encouraged to read in the original French if possible.

Class Format: The course will be taught in a large-group discussion format. A field trip to an area museum may be planned.

Estimated cost of materials: $0 - $50

HISTART Distribution Requirements: D. Europe and the US, 4. Modern and Contemporary