M W 12,30-1,50
This course will focus on both the historical and cultural development of fashion, clothing and consumption in East Asia, with a special focus on China and Japan. Using a variety of sources, from fiction to art, from legal codes to advertisements, we will study both actual garments created and worn in society throughout history, as well as the ways in which they inform the social characterization of class, ethnicity, nationality, and gender attributed to fashion. Among the topics we will analyze in this sense will be hair-style, foot-binding and, in a deeper sense, bodily practices that inform most fashion-related discourses in East Asia. We will also think through the issue of fashion consumption as an often-contested site of modernity, especially in relationship to the issue of globalization and world-market. Thus we will also include a discussion of international fashion designers, along with analysis of phenomena such as sweat-shops.
Limited to 20 students.
Attendance and participation
I expect you to have completed the reading assignments before coming to class. Attendance and class participation are essential. The course will combine lecture and discussion and part of the final grade will be based on your participation, which involves presence, preparation of readings, and contributions towards classroom discussion. Late arrivals will be noted - three late arrivals count as one absence. You are allowed two absences, absences above and beyond that need to be explained in order to avoid an impact on the grade.
Papers, deadlines and assignments
a) Discussion teams.
Depending on the size of the class, you will be divided in small groups (3-4 persons maximum) and assigned a date and a topic for which you will be the discussion leaders, and will be responsible for structuring and leading the conversation on the material for the date assigned. Where possible, you will also be expected to find new and interesting material related to the issue/s under study.
b) Screening journal.
The screening journal will consist of entries you will make for each movie/documentary assigned. Entries need not be long and elaborate, as long as they convey your thoughts and ideas. These entries can serve as a place to respond to class discussion and reading assignments, as well as to express any ideas, thoughts or feelings prompted by the movie. I will read the journal regularly to respond and as much as possible incorporate your ideas and reactions. The grade on journal entries is indicative of the effort you put in the class, not of the quality of your comments and insights: missed entries will negatively affect your grade, while entries that consistently reflect a lot of thought and engagement will boost your grade. Journal entries are due by class time on the day in which the movie assigned will be discussed (almost all screenings are meant to be done during your weekend—but this is at your discretion—), in hard copy.
Various assignments, such as creating your own pillow book, keeping a clothing journal, will be given throughout the semester. Assignments will be emailed to you, along with due dates and precise guidelines, or handed out in class. They will also be regularly posted on the course website.
d) Final project.
You will be expected to submit a project by the end of the semester. The project should be original, and respond a major theme or issue in the course. It could be collaborative (which of course will have an impact on the length of the project) and you will need to give a presentation in class about your work in progress before the end of the semester. There will be NO EXTENSIONS and your project will be marked down 10 % for each day it is late. Your final project will be due by 12/21 at noon, in hard copy, in my office.
Please note that this syllabus is a living organism and thus may evolve and change; this means that additional assignments, including movie screenings, may be added to the schedule. Check the course site for updates and announcements.
The final grade will be based on the following criteria: attendance and participation, 50%; essays and assignments, 50%.
W 3 to 5 and by appointment
You are welcome and (really) encouraged to come and speak with me during office hours. This is important time to discuss more extensively the texts we are studying, the ideas we are exploring, or anything else related to the class. I strongly urge you to talk with me about difficulties you may experience with course related material and to make suggestions, so that we can all benefit from each other’s insights and comments.
Required texts and course readers
(All texts are available at Amherst Books; they are also on reserve at Frost)
Please use only these editions, as all page numbers in your syllabus refers to them.
THE FASHION READER, Second edition 9781847885890 2011
Wu Juanjuan CHINESE FASHION: FROM MAO TO NOW (DRESS, BODY, CULTURE) 1845207793 2009
Christine Tsui CHINA FASHION: CONVERSATIONS WITH DESIGNERS 1845205154 2010
Toby Slade JAPANESE FASHION: A CULTURAL HISTORY 1847882528 2010
Laura Miller BEAUTY UP 0520245091 2006
Bonnie Adrian FRAMING THE BRIDE 0520238346 2003
Book to order later (details will be given in class):
Kyoichi Tsuzuki HAPPY VICTIMS 4861521688 2008
All other readings assigned for the course are available on e-reserve, through your Amherst portal.
With the exceptions noted below in your syllabus, all movies will be available for your viewing pleasure as streaming videos that you can access from any computer connected to the Amherst-network via Ethernet cable. Please refer to this link for more information on how to access streaming videos:
Class discussion will often center on the movies, so all viewings are compulsory. Additional movie screenings may be added.
Go Lala Go!
The September Issue
Chinese footbinding. The vanishing lotus
Good for Her: A documentary about plastic surgery in Korea
The Shoe Fairy
Two Hundred Pounds Beauty
Beauty in China
These movies are on reserve in the Frost Library for your viewing pleasure, to complement some of the issues we will discuss in class throughout the semester.
Bounce ko gals
Eat the Kimono
Flowers of Shanghai
Ghost in the Shell, I and II
In the Mood For Love
Life and debt
Love and Pop
Mao’s New Suit
Memoirs of a Geisha
Notebook on Cities and Clothes
Paris Is Burning
The Curse of the Golden Flower
The Great Happiness Space
The World of Suzie Wong
The Worlds of Mei Lanfang
Wu Ji (The Promise)
Schedule and reading assignments
9/7 The Real Me. Or: What’s Up with Clothes?
Introduction to the course.
Screening: Seamless, streaming
Chen, Tina, and Zamperini, Paola, Introduction to Fabrications, positions: east asia cultures critique 11.2 (2003)
Assignment # 1 due
9/14 Fashionology. An Introduction to Fashion Studies.
Readings: Part II, Fashion Theory, 117-163, in The Fashion Reader, required text.
9/ 19 Re-Orienting Fashion.
Readings: Sandra Niessen, “Afterword: Re-Orienting Fashion,” 243-266; Carla Jones and Ann Marie Leshkowich, “Introduction. The Globalization of Asian Dress”, 1-43, in Re-Orienting Fashion. The Globalization of Asian Dress, electronic reserve.
9/21 The Body Invisible…
Readings: Shigehisa Kuriyama, “The Imagination of the Body and the History of Embodied Experience: The Case of Chinese Views of the Viscera,” in The Imagination of the Body and the History of Bodily Experience, 17-29, e-reserve.
9/26 And The Body Visible…
Satsuki Kawano, “Japanese Bodies and Western Ways of Seeing in the Late Nineteenth Century”, in Dirt, Undress and Difference, 149-167, e-reserve; Laura Miller, “Body Fashion and Beauty Etiquette,” in Beauty Up, 100-124; Slade, Japanese Fashion, 29-49.
9/28 From Head to Toe: Hair That Matters….
Weikun Cheng, “Politics of the Queue: Agitation and Resistance in the beginning and End of Qing China,” 123-142, in Hair. Its Power and Meaning in Asian Cultures, e-reserve; Anne Allison, “Cutting the Fringes: Pubic Hair at the Margins of Japanese Censorship Laws,” in Hair. Its Power and Meaning in Asian Cultures, 195-217, e-reserve.
Screening, Chinese footbinding. The vanishing lotus, streaming
Readings: Dorothy Ko, “The Body as Attire. The Shifting Meanings of Foot-binding in Seventeenth-Century China,” Journal of Women's History Volume 8, Number 4, http://search.epnet.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&an=101064
10/ 5…and Changing Clothes.
Readings: Eileen Chang, A Chronicle of Changing Clothes, in positions: east asia cultures critique 11.2 (2003)
Eileen Chang, Lust and Caution, 3-13, e-reserve.
10/10 FALL BREAK
10/12 Kimono Blues: Fashioning Modernity.
Readings: Slade, Japanese Fashion, 49-77, and 126-132; Lisa Dalby, Kimono, 59-107, e-reserve; Wearing Propaganda. Textiles on the Home Front in Japan, Britain, and the United States, 157-203, e-reserve; Kelly Foreman, “Bad girls confined: Okuni, Geisha, and the negotiation of female performance space,” in Bad girls of Japan, e-book.
Screening: Beauty in China, streaming
Week 7 To Make Her (and Him) the Prettiest 1
This week will mark the beginning of our in-class presentations. You will be divided in small groups and for each of the following four class meetings, depending on class size, your group will be responsible for leading discussion on the day chosen. A sign-up sheet will be handed out in week 5.
10/ 17 Fabricating Beauy in China …
In class discussion of the documentary Beauty in China
Readings; Susan Brownell, “Making Dream Bodies in China”, in China Urban, 132-142; Eva Kit Wah Man, “Female Bodily Aesthetics, Politics, and Feminine Ideals of Beauty in China,” 169-196, in Beauty Matters, e-reserve.
110/19 … in Japan…
Group discussion leaders: Jacquelyn Runholt, Fengsheng Zhu, Ali Rich
Readings Laura Miller, Beauty Up, Chapters 2 and 3, 40-99, Chapter 5, 125-158.
Assignment: Watch the first episode of http://www.mysoju.com/boys-este/ and of Absolute Boyfriend http://www.mysoju.com/absolute-boyfriend-zettai-kareshi/
Week 8 To Make Her (and Him) the Prettiest 2
10/ 24 FACE/OFF. Making Up Class in China and Japan…
Group discussion leaders: Nikki Takemori, Michelle Park, Ayano Takami
Readings: Ashikari, Mikiko. (2003). “Urban Middle-Class Japanese Women and their White Faces: Gender, Ideology, and Representation”. Ethos, 31: 3-37 http://www.jstor.org/stable/3651863; Wagatsuma, Hiroshi. (1967). “The Social Perception of Skin Color in Japan”, Daedalus, 96: 407- 443, http://www.jstor.org/stable/20027045
; “Gendered Development of Consumer Culture in China” and Gary Xu and Susan Feiner, “Meinu Jingji/China’s Beauty Economy: Buying Looks, Shifting Value,” in Changing Place in Gender, China and The World Trade Order, Routledge, 2009, e-reserve.
Recommended reading: Martin, Phillip. “Why White Skin is all the rage in Asia”. Globalpost. 25 Nov. 2009;
Perry Johansson, “White Skin, Large Breasts. Chinese Beauty Product Advertising as Cultural Discourse”, e-reserve.
10/26 Class canceled due to international conference!!!
Screenings: Good for Her, Never Perfect, and Western Eyes, Two Hundred Pounds Beauty, streaming
FOR YOR RESPONSE YOU CAN CHOOSE TO WRITE ABOUT “TWO HUNDRED POUND BEAUTY” OR ABOUT THE 3 DOCUMENTARIES. YOU ARE WELCOME TO WRITE ABOUT ALL OF THESE SOURCES, IN WHICH CASE ONE OF THE TWO RESPONSES WILL COUNT AS EXTRA CREDIT. Your screening entries will be due on Wednesday, 11/2
Week 9 Reframings. Regional and Transnational Flows 1
10/31 Pioneer Valley Fashion victims
Informed by our conversations so far, students will spend this class session on the streets of Amherst, Northampton interviewing passers-by about where they have bought their clothes and asking them about how much they know about the origins and the manufacture of their clothes. Details to follow.
Assignment due by 10/31 at midnight.
11/2 and Beyond!
Group discussion leaders: Olivia Ouyang, Laura Summers, Shayonna Cato
In class discussion of 200 hundred Pound Beauty, Good for Her, Never Perfect, and Western Eyes
11/4 Outline and tentative bibliography due for final projects, including research papers. Please submit them through our CSM’ Dropobox.
Week 10 Regional and Transnational Flows 2
11/7 Wedding Bells1 and 2: The Context of Looking.
Group discussion leaders: Bridget Keller, Cindy Li, Lauren Slutsky
Readings: Framing the Bride, required text, 1-246.
11/9 The Korean New Wave. In class discussion of the first episode of Winter Sonata
Group discussion leaders: Kristen Lee, Chelsea Tejada, Lydia Trottman
Screening: Winter Sonata, episode 1 at least, streaming
Readings : Angel Lin and Avin Tong, “Re-Imagining a Cosmopolitan ‘Asian Us’: Korean Media Flows and Imaginaries of Asian Modern Femininities,” in East Asian Pop Culture. Analysing the Korean Wave, 91-125, e-reserve.
Week 11 Regional and Transnational Flows 3
11/14 : Hana yori dango in Japan, Taiwan and Korea
Group discussion leaders: Katrin Marquez, Emily Fan, Louise To
In class discussion of the Taiwanese, Japanese and Korean episodes of Boys over Flowers
Screening: Watch at least the first episode of the Japanese Anime series Hana Yori dango and of its TV version
And then watch the first episode of the Taiwanese version of Hana Yori Dango, Meteor Garden 1 http://www.mysoju.com/meteor-garden/
And the first episode of its Korean counterpart
Group discussion leaders: Nora, Madeleine, Ashely
Readings: Gretchen Jones, “Bad Girls Like to Read and Watch”, in Bad Girls of Japan, e-book.; AND at least the first two episodes of http://www.mysoju.com/real-clothes/
DRESS JOURNAL DUE
Screenings: Kamikaze Girls, streaming, to be discussed on 11/28, and China Blue, streaming, to be discussed on 11/30, after the break. The screening entries for these documentaries will be due on the respective days in which they will be discussed.
November 19, 2011-November 27: Thanksgiving Break.
Week 13 The Bondage of Fashion
11/28 Style Deficit Disorder
Group discussion leaders: Jiemin, Sophie Jasinski, Annick Breat-Kearny
Readings: “Branded: Bad Girls Go Shopping”, in Bad Girls of Japan, edited by Laura Miller and Jan Bardsley, e-book; 63. Japanese Street Fashion, in Fashion Reader, 467; Japanese Streets http://www.japanesestreets.com/; Stylites in Beijing http://www.stylites.net/
11/30 Dangerous designs
Readings: Part VIII, The Politics of Fashion, in Fashion Reader, 302-332;
Part XIV, Fashion and the Global Economics, in Fashion Reader, 529-569.
Screening: Go, Lala, Go!, streaming. Screening journal will be due on 12/5
Week 14 From Mao to Now…
12/5 Writing 21st Chinese Fashion
Readings: Chinese Fashion. From Mao to Now, required text for the course
12/7 Chinese Designers
Readings: China Fashion. Conversations with Chinese Designers, required text for the course
Screenings: Notebook on Cities and Clothes, AND The September Issue, streaming. Screening journal entries are due on 12/12, by class time
Week 15 Glocalizing Fashion
12/12 The Future of Glocal Fashion in Media, Theory…
Readings: Fashion Reader, 573-655.
12/14 Stepping Out to the Mead. Asian Fashion at the Amherst College Museum
Details to follow
12/21 Final projects due