Fashion in Global History

     The French Pouf


This site will explore the topic of fashion in global history from antiquity through the revolutions of the eighteenth century. When placed in historical context, fashion allows us to explore the way people accept, reject, or manipulate the world around them. Fashion also allows us to explore social, political, and economic linkages within a global context. Through various creative design projects, our contributors will explore the historic demand for luxury goods (particularly goods that could be worn or displayed), the expansion of this demand after 1492, and the way dress and ornamentation were used as expressions of rebellion, community, political and religious authority, and social change.



Luxury, Sumptuary, and Rebellion

Week Two
Where it all began

MON (9/15): Fashion in the Roman Empire

WED (9/17): The Birth of Fashion in Medieval Europe

FRI (9/19): Guest Speaker Jeffery Barry (University Librarian), Introduction to Library Resources

Dolansky, “Togam virile sumere: Coming of Age in the Roman World” in Roman Dress and the Fabric of Roman Culture, 47-71
Heller, “Fashion in French Crusading Literature: Desiring Infidel Textiles” in Encountering Medieval Textiles and Dress, 103-21

Question: What was the relationship between apparel and social status in late antiquity and medieval Europe?
****Contributor Profile Due in Class and emailed to me at (9/15)****
****Weekly Review due in class (9/19)****

Week Three

MON (9/22): Sumptuary Laws and Sartorial Rebels in Medieval and Renaissance Europe

WED (9/24): Pre-Columbian Sumptuary in Western Atlantic Empires

FRI (9/26): Guest Speaker Brandon Bucy (ITS), Introduction to WordPress and Blogging


Anawalt, “Costume and Control: Aztec Sumptuary Laws” in Archaeology, Vol. 33. No 1 (1980), 33-43
Bullough, “Cross Dressing and Social Status in the Middle Ages” in Cross Dressing, Sex and Gender (1993), 45-74
“‘Rich Like a Lady’: Cross-Class Dressing in the Brothels and Theaters of in Archeology Vol. 33 No. 1 (1980), 33-43

Elizabethan Sumptuary Statues (England, 1573)

Question: Explain how the impulse to regulate adornment was a cross-cultural phenomenon. What was the purpose of regulation? Where and how do we see rebellion against regulation?

****Style Scout Assignment due in class (9/26)****
****Weekly Review due in class (9/26)****
***Contributor Profile Posted to website by end of weekend (9/28)****

Fashion in Global Context

Week Four
Visualizing “Other” People, Places, and Things

MON: (9/29) Clothing the World in Cesare Vecellio’s Costume Book (1590)

WED:  (10/1) Imagining North American Indians in the works of John White and Theodore de Bry

FRI: (10/3): Visit to Special Collections in Leyburn Library


Michelle Mosely-Christian “Confluence of Costume, Cartography and Early Modern European Chorography” in Journal of Art Historiography No. 9 December 2012
Kupperman “Presentment of Civility: English Reading of American Self-Presentation in the Early Years of Colonization” in the William and Mary Quarterly vol. 54 No. 1 (193-228)
Primary Sources and Images:
Theodore De Bry Engravings with Descriptions; Sections I-III at
Excerpts from Cesare Vecellio’s Costume Book

Question: How did Europeans use adornment to interpret “foreign” (either historic or geographic) cultures? AND/OR, How do objects of adornment allow us to see differences and similarities in the way indigenous peoples and Europeans shaped their material, social, and spiritual worlds?

****Weekly Reading Review (10/3)****

 Week Five

Colonialism, Creoles, and the Sistema de Castas in the Early Modern Hispanic World
MON (10/6): Colonialism, Creolism, and escudos de monjas (shields of nuns)

WED (10/8):  Adornment and the Sistema de Castas in New Spain

FRI (10/10): Julie Knudson (ITS), Concept Mapping with Prezi


Bass and Wunder “The Veiled Ladies of the Early Modern Spanish World: Seduction and Scandal in Seville, Madrid, and Lima” in Hispanic Review vol. 77, No. 1
Vicente “Fashion, Race, and Cotton Textiles in Colonial Spanish America” in The Spinning World: A Global History of Cotton

Primary Sources:
Casta Paintings

How did fashion act as a visual marker of community in the Spanish Empire? Were there exclusions, exceptions, or rebellions against conformity?
****Weekly Review due in class (10/10)****

Week Six
The Price of Luxury

MON (10/13): Cochineal and 17th Century European Rivalries in the Atlantic

WED (10/15): Fur Hats and the French-Iroquois Beaver Wars of the mid-17th century

FRI (10/17): Fall Reading Day / NO CLASS

****Concept Map Due BEFORE break (10/15)****

Brook, “Vermeer’s Hat” in Vermeer’s Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World, 26-54
“European Rivalries and Atlantic Repercussions 1500-1650” in The Atlantic World, 115-47

Question: What was the price of luxury during the 17th century?

****Midterm due (10/15)****

Week Seven:

MON: (10/20):  Student Meetings about Final Projects

WED: (10/22): Student Meetings about Final Projects

FRI: (10/24): Student Meetings about Final Projects

Fashion and Fantasy

Week Eight
Fashion, Court Life, and the World Turned Upside-down

Mon (10/27): Absolutism and the Politics of Fashion in the Court of the Sun King (Louis XIV)

WED: (10/29): Russia’s Peter the Great and the Petrine Court

FRI: (10/31): Halloween! Brief lecture on Masquerading (Carnival)

Jones, “Courting La Mode and Costuming the French” in Sexing La Mode: Gender, Fashion, and Commercial Culture in Old Regime France, 15-47
Hughes, “The Petrine Court” in Russia in the Age of Peter the Great, 248-288

Question: What was role did fashion play in political authority?

****Weekly Review due in class 10/31****

Week Nine
The East and West, 1500-1800 (Part I)

MON (11/3): Turquerie: Ottoman Delightsin Western European Style

WED (11/5): Textiles, India, and the Global Economy

Friday (11/7): Discussion

“On The Periphery of a Greater World: John Singleton Copley’s Turquerie Portraits” in Winterthur Portfolio vol. 36 No. 2/3 (summer-autumn, 2001)
“East & West: Textiles and Fashion in Early Modern Europe” in Journal of Social History Vol. 41 No. 4 (Summer, 2008)
Primary Sources:
Excerpts from: The Needle’s Excellency (London, 1640)
Portraits of Madame de Pompadour

Question: Explain the concept of Orientalism in the fashionable Turquerie style.

****Portfolio Presentations (11/7)****
****Weekly Review due in class (11/7)****

Week Ten
The East and West, 1500-1800 (Part II)

MON (11/10): Porcelain / Reeve Center Visit

WED (11/12): Student Presentations/Proposals for Final Project (Short lecture on Women and the Practice of “Japanning” if possible)

FRI (11/14): Student Presentations/Proposals for Final Project AND Discussion


“‘Home is Where the Art Is’: Women, Handicrafts and Home Improvements, 1750-1900” Journal of Design History
“A Dish of Fruit” in Vermeer’s Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World, 54-84

“The Family Jewel, or the womans councellor” (1704) (intro, table of contents, and excerpts on japanning only)

Question: How was fashion (or objects that were fashionable) incorporated into domestic spaces? What did they symbolize?

****Portfolio Presentations (11/12 AND 11/14)****
****Turn in Proposal Portfolios to Peer Reviewers (11/12 AND 11/14)****
****Weekly Review due in class (11/14)****


Fashion, Enlightenment, and Acts of Rebellion

Week Eleven
Fashion in the American Revolution

MON (11/17): The Politics of Fashion in the American Revolution

WED (11/19): Ben Franklin’s Fur Hat: Portraying the American Frontier

FRI: (11/21) Lab/Discussion

“The Politics of Silk and Homespun: Contesting Nation Identity in Revolutionary America” in Cultural Revolutions: Everyday life and politics in Britain, North America and France, 81-113
“Fashion and Nation” in Gender and American Culture: Politics of Fashion in 18th Century America, 181-217
David Waldstreicher, “Why Thomas Jefferson and African Americans Wore Their Politics on Their Sleeves: Dress and Mobilization between American Revolutions,” Beyond the Founders: New Approaches to the Political History or the Early American Republic (2004)

Question: Explain how Americans used clothing and adornment to symbolize pre- and post-Revolutionary ideology?

****Weekly Review due in class (11/29)****

November 24-28, Thanksgiving Break / NO CLASS

Week Twelve
Wearing Political Values in the French and Haitian Revolution

Major Themes:

MON: (12/1): From Marie Antoinette to Sans-Culottes: Fashion in the French Revolution

WED: (12/3): Gens de Couleur (free people of color) and the Haitian Revolution

FRI (12/5): Lab/Discussion

“The Portrait of the Queen” in Marie Antoinette: Writing on the Body of the Queen, 45-73

Questions: Explain the role of symbolism, fantasy, and identity in Revolutionary and Post-Revolutionary Europe.

****Rough Draft Due (12/1)
****Weekly Review due in class (12/5)****

Week Thirteen

MON (12/8): Wrapping Up: Fashion after the Industrial Revolution

WED (12/10): Class Presentations

FRI: (10/12): Class Presentations


Library Guide for History 180: