Honors | Cloth, Gender, Power
E400 | 31437 | Beth Buggenhagen

MW 2:30-4:45 pm
Fall 2006, Second Eight Weeks

Course Objective
This course analyzes the production and circulation of cloth and
other objects of value (banana leaf skirts, cattle, kula shells and
beads) in colonial, post-colonial and global contexts. The course
format will alternate between classic theoretical readings in the
anthropology of exchange and ethnographic case studies, as well as
contemporary critiques of consumption and consumerism. This course
follows debates about photography, clothing and fashion from
colonial dissemination of the ideas and technologies to local
appropriations and self-representations of beauty and aesthetics in
Africa, Oceania and India.

Course Requirements
•One 5-7 pg take home midterm exam on course reading (30 %)
•One 5-7 pg final take home exam using the course materials (40%)
•Lead one seminar (20%)
•Class participation (10%)

Texts ordered for purchase (NOTE: At least one copy of each text
will be on 2 hour reserve)
•Hendrickson, Hildi, ed. 1996 Clothing and Difference: embodied
identities in colonial and post-colonial Africa. Durham : Duke
University Press. (selections)
•Mauss, Marcel. 1990 [1950] The Gift. The Form and Reason for
Exchange in Archaic Societies. London: Routledge. (selections)
•Rabine, Leslie W. 2002. The Global Circulation of African Fashion.
•Weiner, Annette B. and Jane Schneider, eds. 1991 Cloth and Human
Experience. Smithsonian Series in Ethnographic Inquiry. (selections)

Course Outline

23 October Introduction and Course Objectives

Part One: Cloth as Gift: Body, Practice, Exchange

25 October Why the Body?
Mauss, Marcel. 2006 [1973]. “Techniques of the Body.” In,
Techniques, Technology and Civilization, edited by Nathan Schlanger.
New York: Durkheim Press/Berghahn Books. H53.F7 M39 2006

Turner, T. 1980. “The Social Skin.” In Not Work Alone, ed. J.
Cherfas and R. Lewin, 112-40. London: Temple Smith.

The Kayapo [videorecording]: Indians of the Brazilian rain forest.
1987. 51 minutes.

30 October The Logic of Practice
Mauss, Marcel. 1990 [1950] The Gift. Introduction, Chpt. 1, 2 (II,
IV, V, VI), 4

Carrier, J. 1991. “Gifts, Commodities and Social Relations: A
Maussian View of Exchange.” Social Analysis 6 (1):119-136.

Why Exchange?

1 November Money and Value
Graeber, David. 1996 “Beads and Money: Notes Towards a Theory of
Wealth and Power.” American Ethnologist 23:1-32.

Marx, Karl. The Grundrisse, “Introduction,” section 2 only

Ames, David. 1955. “The Use of a Transitional Cloth Money Token
Among the Wolof.” American Anthropologist, 57 (5): 1016-1024.

6 November Cloth and Social Production
Weiner, Annette B. and Jane Schneider, eds., Chapter
1, “Introduction” (in Weiner)

Weiner, Annette B. “Why Cloth? Wealth, Gender and Power in Oceania”
(in Weiner)

Feeley Harnik, Gillian, “Cloth and the Creation of Ancestors in
Madagascar.” (in Weiner)

8 November Gender and Wealth
Weiner, Annette. “Inalienable Wealth.” 1985 American Ethnologist 12

Films: Kuo Hina E Hiapo and Kau Faito’o

Part Two: Cloth and Colonialism

13 November Fashioning the Colonial Subject
Cohn, Bernard S. “Cloth, Clothes and Colonialism.” (in Weiner)

Comaroff, J.L. and J, 1992 “Homemade Hegemony” In Ethnography and
the Historical Imagination. Westview.

Burke, Timothy. 1996 “Sunlight Soap Has Changed My Life: Hygiene,
Commodification and the Body in Colonial Zimbabwe.” (in Hendrickson)

Part Three: Cloth as Commodity

15 November Cloth and Commodity Production
Stallybrass, Peter. 1998 “Marx’s Coat.” In Border Fetishisms:
Material Objects in Unstable Spaces, edited by Patricia Spyer,

Schelds, Suzanne. City in a Shoe. City and Society.

20 November Globalization, Labor and Value
Leslie W. Rabine  2002. The Global Circulation of African Fashion,

27 November Gender and Politics
Film: Faat Kine

29 November Fashion, Politics, Power
Bastian, Misty. 1996 “Female Alhajis and Entrepreneurial Fashions:
Flexible Identities in Southeastern Nigerian Clothing Practice.” (in

Weiss, Brad. 1996 “Dressing at Death: Clothing, Time and Memory in
Buhaya, Tanzania.” (in Hendrickson)

4 December The Art of African Fashion
Heath, Deborah. 1992 “Fashion and Heteroglossia in Urban Senegal.”
American Ethnologist. 19:1, 19-33.

Mustafa, Hudita Nura, 1998 “Sartorial ecumenes: African styles in a
social and economic context.” In: Art of African fashion. The Hague,
Netherlands: Prince Claus Fund; Asmara, Eritrea; Trenton, NJ: Africa
World Press.

6 December Fashion and the Photograph
Mustafa, Hudita Nura, 2002. “Portraits of Modernity: Fashioning
Selves in Dakarois Popular Photography.” In Paul Stuart Landau
(Editor), Deborah D. Kaspin (Editor), Images and Empires: Visuality
in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa. University of California Press.

Buckley, Liam. 2000. Self and Accessory in Gambian Studio
Photography. Visual Anthropology Review 16 (2): 71-91.