Oregon State University

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Presentation by Ilya Parkins, Assistant Professor of Women's Studies at the University of British Columbia

Feminized Opacity in Early Twentieth-Century Beauty Culture: Textual and Theoretical Considerations

Monday, February 18, 2013 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

This presentation considers women’s high degree of visibility in “Western” fashion and beauty culture in the 1910s and 20s. In a seeming paradox, spectacularization called renewed attention to women’s opacity; women’s visual prominence made apparent their “unknowability.” This talk examines several textual examples and gestures toward a theoretical apparatus for assessing women’s spectacular opacity, suggesting that representations of women as unknowable in the early twentieth century constituted an epistemological challenge that was as significant as modernist discourses of abstraction in the visual and literary arts. 

Ilya Parkins is Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus. She is the author of Poiret, Dior and Schiaparelli: Fashion, Femininity and Modernity and the co-editor of Cultures of Femininity in Modern Fashion. Her interdisciplinary work on feminist theory, fashion, and early twentieth-century cultural formations has appeared in such journals as Australian Feminist Studies, Time & Society, and Women’s Studies, and is forthcoming in Biography.

Owen Hall (campus map)
Elizabeth Sheehan
Elizabeth.Sheehan at oregonstate.edu
School of Writing, Literature, and Film