Research Programs: Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Period of Performance

9/1/2016 - 5/31/2017

Funding Totals

$37,800.00 (approved)
$37,800.00 (awarded)

Women, Fashion, and Work in 19th-Century France

FAIN: FB-58212-15

Susan Hiner
Vassar College (Poughkeepsie, NY 12604-0001)

"Behind the Seams" considers aspects of fashion, visual, and cultural studies that have received little critical attention. An NEH Fellowship would allow me to complete a full draft of this book by September 2015. Part One deals with women fashion workers and their conflation with prostitutes through visual representation and other popular media, notably vaudeville. Part Two focuses on female fashion writers of leading nineteenth-century fashion publications. Included here are female illustrators of fashion plates from the nineteenth-century women's press and a critical analysis of the visual rhetoric of the fashion plate. My epilogue explores the folkloric figure of the "catherinette," who encapsulates evolving roles of female fashion workers at the turn of the twentieth century. The book offers a important contribution to fashion, visual culture, and French cultural studies and will help to build intersections among costume history, object analysis, and cultural studies.

Media Coverage

Author(s): Kathryn A. Haklin
Publication: Modern Language Notes
Date: 9/7/2020
Abstract: book review

Author(s): Kathryn A. Haklin, Sima Godfrey
Publication: H-France
Date: 10/7/2019

Associated Products

Chapter 2: Fashion Animation: Heads, Hats, and the Uncanny Work of Fashion (Book Section)
Title: Chapter 2: Fashion Animation: Heads, Hats, and the Uncanny Work of Fashion
Author: Susan Hiner
Editor: Heidi Brevik-Zender
Abstract: (book abstract) This anthology explores connections between dress and modernity through interdisciplinary French humanities scholarship. It brings to life the reciprocal relationships between fashion and a range of primary source materials, including literary fiction, paintings, social commentaries, decorative arts, fashion magazines, mass-circulating newspapers, popular theatrical works, trade publications, and advertisements, among others.The book centers on a specific constellation of concerns—fashion, modernity, and materiality from the eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries—giving depth of focus.Themes include fashion’s relationship to the arts, material production, conflict, memory, the nation, social class, race, and gender and sexuality.Among the broader questions framing the volume are some that remain highly pertinent today:What are the various and complex relationships that exist between clothing and the lived body? How do garments hold traces of the past and activate memories of the human experience? In which ways do clothing and adornment express sexualities? How does fashion help to define what it meant and means to be modern? Together, the essays demonstrate fashion’s broad reach and appeal as an interdisciplinary category of analysis.
Year: 2018
Primary URL:
Secondary URL:
Access Model: print book
Publisher: SUNY Press
Book Title: Fashion, Modernity, and Materiality in France: From Rousseau to Art Deco
ISBN: 9781438472355