Communication and Culture | Current Topics in Communication and Culture: Politics of Style
C334 | 14928 | Kaplan


CMCL-C 334: Current Topics in Communication and Culture
Topic: Politics of Style
Class Number: 14928
TR  1:00-2:15PM

Professor: Michael Kaplan
E-mail: mikaplan@indiana.edu
Office: Mottier Hall 209
Phone: 812-856-1365

We are always told not to judge a book by its cover, but that is
what the covers are for. That¹s because surfaces always communicate.
For example, everyone wears clothing and reacts, sometimes quite
strongly, to the ways others dress. Most people frequently reflect
on the meanings and purposes of dress by reading fashion advice,
watching TV programs about style, carefully imitating (usually
famous) others, perusing catalogs, shopping for special and everyday
occasions, and so on. Consequently, most of us tacitly or openly
acknowledge the importance of communicating through our clothes and
know how to do so more or less skillfully. Indeed, this is one of
our most common and purposive forms of communication‹a rhetoric of
the everyday. Our challenge will be to try to think "behind"
our "how-to" expertise to the rules that govern it, the purposes
these rules serve, and the effects‹direct and indirect, personal and
social, political and economic, repressive and expressive,
manageable and unruly, etc.‹they generate. The idea is not to learn
theories or facts about fashion so much as to consult some of them
for clues about worthwhile questions to ask. Questions‹ problems,
ambiguities, puzzles, contradictions, tensions, etc.‹are the
heartbeat of the course.