College Of Arts and Sciences | Funk and Pharaohs: Communicating Culture Through Dress
S103 | 4005 | Christiansen, D.


In this course, dress and appearance are presented as a visual
vocabulary used to explore the communication of identity, ethnicity,
values, social status and group affiliation throughout history and
today. Readings and various campus resources, such as the Fine Arts
Museum, opera/stage costume, a historic clothing collection, and a
museum of cultural artifacts will be combined to teach students about
the role clothing and appearance have played throughout time.
Readings and lectures will cover topics extending from the history of
clothing and original theories on why we wear clothes, to thoughts
about why we wear what we do, and how the psyche and society affect
fashion adoption and change. The course will also encourage
discussion of appearance perceptions that lead to the development of
stereotypes, prejudice, and ethnocentricity. In general we will use
the concept of dress and related disciplines as vehicles for learning
the academic tools necessary for a successful college career.

During the course of the seminar, students will be asked in group
discussions and written assignments to evaluate their current
perceptions of other cultures/subcultures, from both the past and
today, and compare them to others' through the critical and
analytical study of art, drama, costumes, fashion, and material
culture. They will begin to develop critical writing skills, and gain
an early understanding of how to read and respond to research and
writing at the college level using library and campus resources.

This course is appropriate for anyone hoping to study design, fine
arts, theater, history, or sociology, especially with an interest in
dress and appearance. You will emerge a more open-minded,
independent, critical thinker with the tools to be successful in the
first year of school.