The Embodied Turn: Making and Remaking Dress as an Academic Practice.

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  • Source:
    Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture. May2019, Vol. 23 Issue 3, p329-362. 34p.
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    • Abstract:
      Fashion is a field fundamentally enmeshed with bodies and materiality. After the global and material turns for history, I contend that we are now experiencing the "embodied turn": a development that recognizes the processes of doing, making and remaking, and reconstructing as a fruitful methodology with quantifiable, academically valid results. The pioneers of material clothing reconstruction changed dress history and fashion studies. From their lead, new generations of scholars are extending the original approaches, while historical re-enactors using their findings are now an established global community. This article explores how remaking the clothed past can yield unique and useful research insights. How is the embodied methodology of making and wearing reconstructed clothing being done, and in innovative ways? Which directions might this take us; and how do new technologies advance the possibilities of enquiry using reconstruction? My discussion of these questions offers broad-ranging examples of the scholarly search for embodied or experiential dress knowledge to be discovered through re-making the past. I draw on personal experience of re-creating historical clothing, and current doctoral work examining what can be learnt from experimental archaeology to suggest "experimental history" is an equally valid concept. The article also outlines the need for dress and fashion scholars' more extensive theoretical engagement with methodologies of re-creation. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]