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  • Dress Behind Bars: Prison Clothing as Criminality

Ash, Juliet, 2009, Book, Dress Behind Bars: Prison Clothing as Criminality I B Tauris, London and New York. ISBN 9781850438939 / 9781850438946

Abstract or Description:

Research for this sole-authored book was undertaken during AHRC-funded Research Leave (2007). It represents Ash’s expertise as a dress historian and interest in the history and current organisation of prisons, which evolved from her teaching experience in Holloway women’s prison and Wakefield top security men’s prison in the 1970s.

Crossing the disciplines of dress history, social history and film studies, this is the first book to examine the history of prisoners' clothing. Focusing on UK, American and European prison clothing, this history analyses waves of reform, sandwiched between regimes of punishing clothing restraints. Prison clothing, as Ash demonstrates, raises issues of regional, colonial, post-colonial, gender, fashion and class variations, contested by collective, political and individual tactics devised by inmates to survive and subvert cultures of punishment.

This book is based on research into penal history, dress history in relation to uniforms and corporeal identity, criminological debates, oral histories, and 19th- and 20th-century prison art and literature. Material from correspondence and interviews with prisoners, prison reform groups, those who work as designers in prisons, and curators of prison photography and dress informed the study. To demonstrate the value of the clothes themselves to researchers, Ash also wrote an article for the Journal of Design History on ‘The prison uniforms collection at the galleries of Justice Museum, Nottingham, UK’ (2011).

The book was reviewed by journals including Journal of Design History (2011), British Journal of Criminology (2011), Textile History (2011), Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology (2010) and Crime Media Culture (2010). Related talks included ‘Prison clothing as political resistance’ at NCAD Dublin (2010). BBC Radio 4 made the book the focus of an episode of Thinking Allowed (2009), and Ash was interviewed about women prisoners' attitudes to uniforms and prison clothing for ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2013).

Official URL: http://www.ibtauris.com/Books/The%20arts/Industria...
Subjects: Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V300 History by topic > V320 Social History
Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V300 History by topic > V370 History of Design
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W230 Clothing/Fashion Design
School or Centre: School of Humanities
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2012 10:38
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2013 13:45
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/848

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