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  • From punk to the hijab: Women’s embodied dress as performative resistance, 1970s to the present

Suterwalla, Shehnaz, 2013, Book Section, From punk to the hijab: Women’s embodied dress as performative resistance, 1970s to the present In: Oral History in the Visual Arts. Bloomsbury. ISBN 9780857851970

Abstract or Description:

The research for this article was first presented at a conference organised by the Oral History Society in 2010, after which Suterwalla was invited to contribute to this edited book. A collection of essays, the volume expands the field by exploring oral history methods used by academics and artists to uncover hidden, marginalised histories and to demonstrate how the interview can be creative material in arts practice. Within this context, Suterwalla’s essay engages with how oral history, as a reflexive methodology, can be used to explore how identities are forged through dress. Focusing on style and techniques of anti-fashion, as resistance across generations and cultures, Suterwalla challenges conventional fashion and design histories that have traditionally been rooted in object analysis, socio-anthropological or cultural studies methods. These have either ignored or failed to address issues of embodiment and experience. Suterwalla draws on research, first undertaken for her PhD (2013), to discuss the benefits of oral history as a way of balancing dominant history writing with ‘herstories’. These methods enable Suterwalla to discuss how gender can be brought to the fore as a defining category of analysis within the matrix of other identity characteristics such as race and class.
In this essay, Suterwalla reflects critically on the problems inherent in oral history techniques, not least the fact that memories and experiences are neither neutral nor transparent, but rather a set of political articulations within a particular time and space. The essay draws attention to the methodological sophistication that is needed to account for these complexities. In her essay, alongside the others in the book, Suterwalla brings hitherto under-theorised discussion of the use of interviews in design and fashion scholarship into critical perspective.

Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W800 Imaginative Writing
School or Centre: School of Humanities
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2013 19:52
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2014 12:17
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1473

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