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Grounded in the insights of anthropology and history and influenced by developments in cultural studies, these essays investigate the relations between the personal and the public, and between ideas about the self and those about the family, gender, and national groups. They explore the bodily and material creation of the changing identities of women, spirits, youths, ancestors, and entrepreneurs through a consideration of topics such as fashion, spirit possession, commodity exchange, hygiene, and mourning.
By taking African societies as its focus, Clothing and Difference demonstrates that factors considered integral to Western social development-heterogeneity, migration, urbanization, transnational exchange, and media representation-have existed elsewhere in different configurations and with different outcomes. With significance for a wide range of fields, including gender studies, cultural studies, art history, performance studies, political science, semiotics, economics, folklore, and fashion and textile analysis/design, this work provides alternative views of the structures underpinning Western systems of commodification, postmodernism, and cultural differentiation.
Contributors. Misty Bastian, Timothy Burke, Hildi Hendrickson, Deborah James, Adeline Masquelier, Elisha Renne, Johanna Schoss, Brad Weiss
|1||Virginity Cloths and Vaginal Coverings in Ekiti, Nigeria||19|
|2||"I Dress in This Fashion": Transformations in Sotho Dress and Women's Lives in a Sekhukhuneland Village, South Africa||34|
|3||Mediating Threads: Clothing and the Texture of Spirit/Medium Relations in Bori (Southern Niger)||66|
|4||Female "Alhajis" and Entrepreneurial Fashions: Flexible Identities in Southeastern Nigerian Clothing Practice||97|
|5||Dressing at Death: Clothing, Time, and Memory in Buhaya, Tanzania||133|
|6||Dressed to "Shine": Work, Leisure, and Style in Malindi, Kenya||157|
|7||"Sunlight Soap Has Changed My Life": Hygiene, Commodification, and the Body in Colonial Zimbabwe||189|
|8||Bodies and Flags: The Representation of Herero Identity in Colonial Namibia||213|
|Notes on Contributors||260|