Course Description

In this course we will study appearance and identity from a variety of perspectives, addressing the underlying theories and concepts at the heart of the discipline, and stressing that clothing and adornment are basic human needs that permeate every aspect of our life. We will collaborate with other courses studying history, sustainability, social equity, and even public health and global food policy, to look at how the apparel industry and our consumer behavior is inextricably linked to economics, politics, the environment, and local/global production and consumption. Students will explore the communication of identity, ethnicity, values, social status and group affiliation throughout history and today, and how that communication is connected to other aspects of our daily lives. Readings and discussion will cover topics extending from original theories on why people wear clothes, to why people wear specifically what they do, and from how concepts of self are developed, to how the psyche and society affect fashion adoption and change, giving fashion/trend forecasters a view into the future.

Students will be encouraged to discuss perceptions that lead to the development of stereotypes, prejudice, ethnocentricity, and social exclusion. In general, students will use the concept of appearance and identity, and related disciplines, as vehicles for learning to use the academic tools necessary for a successful college career. They will begin to develop critical writing skills and gain an early understanding of how to read and respond to research and writing at the college level. Students will emerge as more open-minded, independent, critical thinkers with the tools to be successful in the first year of college.

GenEd Information: Currently approved for the IU Bloomington GenEd SH requirement. See the GenEd Website for more information.

Catalog Information: COLL-S 104 FRESHMAN SEMINAR IN S & H

IFS course instructor photo

Course Instructor: Deborah Christiansen

Professor Christiansen teaches fashion theory, culture, and design courses in the Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design Department School of Art and Design. Her background and research interests involve the history and anthropology of clothing and textiles, and the socio-psychological interpretation of textiles and apparel in different cultures. As a former Hoosier undergraduate, she is familiar with the unique needs and qualities of IU students.

Through the Looking Glass: Theory, Identity, and Dress

Through the Looking Glass: Theory, Identity, and Dress: Courses: Intensive Freshman Seminars: Indiana University Bloomington