‘Fashion is a practice that individuals use to express identity’ (Fashion Business – Introduction to Cultural and Historical Studies)
This unit introduces the Cultural and Historical Studies approach to fashion and related areas. The unit provides a broad overview of the subject and introduces key concepts and ways of thinking that will form the basis of subsequent study. It will also inform decisions regarding the Cultural and Historical Studies unit that is chosen for future study.

Discuss this statement with reference to specific examples.

Your answer should include:
►Reference to key themes, debates and concepts covered in the unit
►Referenced quotations (using Harvard referencing) from at least four academic texts – at least 
two of which should be from the unit Reader – to support your argument
►A critical analysis of examples relevant to your degree subject
►The conventions of academic writing

LEARNING OUTCOMES & MARKING CRITERIA FOR ASSESSMENT
Upon successful completion of this unit you will be able to demonstrate:
1. an awareness of Cultural and Historical Studies as an academic discipline and its
relationship with debates concerning fashion and beauty (subject knowledge);
2. an engagement with, and understanding of, relevant academic literature (research);
3. critical and analytical skills (analysis);
4. the ability to communicate effectively in an academic style (communication and presentation).

RESEARCH Essential Reading
Week 1. What is Cultural Studies and why are we studying it? Key texts
►Barnard, M. (2014) Fashion Theory: An Introduction. London: Routledge
Very useful introduction to understanding fashion, introduces many of the key issues that are central to this unit
►Bennett, A. (2005) ‘Fashion’, in, Culture and Everyday Life London: Sage.
Short, accessible discussion of the relationship between fashion and social identity, invaluable reading for the essay.
►Kaiser, S. B. (2012) Fashion and Cultural Studies. Oxford: Berg.
Very useful introduction to understanding Cultural Studies approaches to fashion, introduces many of the key issues that are central to this unit.
Week 2. The Fashioned body / the silhouette Key Texts
►Entwistle, J. (2015) ‘Fashion and Gender’, in The Fashioned Body: Fashion, Dress and Modern Social Theory (2nd Edition) Cambridge: Polity.
Very useful overview of debates around fashion and gender.
Week 3: Masculinities Key Texts
►Entwistle, J. (2015) ‘Fashion and Gender’, in The Fashioned Body: Fashion, Dress and Modern Social Theory (2nd Edition) Cambridge: Polity.
Very useful overview of debates around fashion and gender.
Week 4: Subculture / gender / sexuality Key Texts
►Kaiser, S. (2012) ‘Sexuality and Style-Fashion-Dress’ in Fashion and Cultural Studies London: Bloomsbury
Invaluable unpicking of the ‘knot of sex, gender, and sexuality’ in relationship to style-fashion-dress.
Week 5: Globalisation / nation / ethnicity
Key Texts
►Maynard, M. (2004) ‘Theorising Global Dress’, in Dress and Globalisation Manchester University Press.
Invaluable and accessible overview of fashion and globalisation.

Week 6: Representation / media / audiences Key Texts
►Barker, C (2004) ‘Representation’ in, The Sage Dictionary of Cultural Studies. London: Sage Excellent short discussion of representation.
►Richardson, N. (2010) ‘Representation’, in Transgressive Bodies: Representation in Film and Popular Culture. Farnham: Ashgate
Excellent short discussion of representation.
►Sturken, M. and L. Cartwright, (2001) ‘Spectatorship, Power and Knowledge’, in Practices of Looking: an Introduction to Visual Culture Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Excellent, sophisticated and wide ranging discussion of spectatorship.
Week 7: Consumption / Class Key Texts
►Bennett, A. (2005) ‘Fashion’, in, Culture and Everyday Life London: Sage.
Short, accessible discussion of the relationship between fashion and social identity, invaluable reading for the essay.
Week 8: Diffusion Key Texts
►Braham, P. (1997) ‘Fashion: unpacking a cultural production’ in du Gay, P. ed. Production of Culture/Cultures of Production London: Sage.
Invaluable study of the production and consumption of clothing commodities.
Week 9: Producing Fashion Key Texts
►Edwards, T. (2011) ‘From rags to riches: fashion production’ in, Edwards, T. Fashion in Focus: Concepts, Practices and Politics. London: Routledge.
Useful overview of debates around fashion production.
Week 10: Postmodernism Key Texts
►Kratz, C. and Reimer, B. (1998) ‘Fashion in the Face of Postmodernity’ in A. A. Berger (ed.) The Postmodern Presence: Readings on Postmodernism in American Culture and Society Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.
Useful and accessible introduction to the manner in which postmodernism has impacted on fashion and the role that fashion plays in our lives

 

Sample Solution

Sample solution

Dante Alighieri played a critical role in the literature world through his poem Divine Comedy that was written in the 14th century. The poem contains Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. The Inferno is a description of the nine circles of torment that are found on the earth. It depicts the realms of the people that have gone against the spiritual values and who, instead, have chosen bestial appetite, violence, or fraud and malice. The nine circles of hell are limbo, lust, gluttony, greed and wrath. Others are heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery. The purpose of this paper is to examine the Dante’s Inferno in the perspective of its portrayal of God’s image and the justification of hell. 

In this epic poem, God is portrayed as a super being guilty of multiple weaknesses including being egotistic, unjust, and hypocritical. Dante, in this poem, depicts God as being more human than divine by challenging God’s omnipotence. Additionally, the manner in which Dante describes Hell is in full contradiction to the morals of God as written in the Bible. When god arranges Hell to flatter Himself, He commits egotism, a sin that is common among human beings (Cheney, 2016). The weakness is depicted in Limbo and on the Gate of Hell where, for instance, God sends those who do not worship Him to Hell. This implies that failure to worship Him is a sin.

God is also depicted as lacking justice in His actions thus removing the godly image. The injustice is portrayed by the manner in which the sodomites and opportunists are treated. The opportunists are subjected to banner chasing in their lives after death followed by being stung by insects and maggots. They are known to having done neither good nor bad during their lifetimes and, therefore, justice could have demanded that they be granted a neutral punishment having lived a neutral life. The sodomites are also punished unfairly by God when Brunetto Lattini is condemned to hell despite being a good leader (Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). While he commited sodomy, God chooses to ignore all the other good deeds that Brunetto did.

Finally, God is also portrayed as being hypocritical in His actions, a sin that further diminishes His godliness and makes Him more human. A case in point is when God condemns the sin of egotism and goes ahead to commit it repeatedly. Proverbs 29:23 states that “arrogance will bring your downfall, but if you are humble, you will be respected.” When Slattery condemns Dante’s human state as being weak, doubtful, and limited, he is proving God’s hypocrisy because He is also human (Verdicchio, 2015). The actions of God in Hell as portrayed by Dante are inconsistent with the Biblical literature. Both Dante and God are prone to making mistakes, something common among human beings thus making God more human.

To wrap it up, Dante portrays God is more human since He commits the same sins that humans commit: egotism, hypocrisy, and injustice. Hell is justified as being a destination for victims of the mistakes committed by God. The Hell is presented as being a totally different place as compared to what is written about it in the Bible. As a result, reading through the text gives an image of God who is prone to the very mistakes common to humans thus ripping Him off His lofty status of divine and, instead, making Him a mere human. Whether or not Dante did it intentionally is subject to debate but one thing is clear in the poem: the misconstrued notion of God is revealed to future generations.

 

References

Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). Dante’s inferno: Seven deadly sins in scientific publishing and how to avoid them. Addiction Science: A Guide for the Perplexed, 267.

Cheney, L. D. G. (2016). Illustrations for Dante’s Inferno: A Comparative Study of Sandro Botticelli, Giovanni Stradano, and Federico Zuccaro. Cultural and Religious Studies4(8), 487.

Verdicchio, M. (2015). Irony and Desire in Dante’s” Inferno” 27. Italica, 285-297.