The Cultural Politics of Fur

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Overview

"A fascinating account of the powerful roles fur has played in various cultures and of the historical and political forces at work in the play of its meanings."—Jonathan Culler, Cornell University"In this well-written treatise, Emberley . . . views fur through widely disparate lenses. . . . Emberley is able to make us understand all the viewpoints she presents. . . . A valuable book on a little-explored subject."—Library Journal"This is a strong and intelligent work on a controversial topic. Emberley's book is much more intellectually sophisticated than anything else I've seen on this subject."—Valerie Steele, Editor, Fashion Theory"Julia Emberley's book is a complex, wide-ranging, and fascinating feminist critique of the history and meaning of fur and fashion. Particularly unique is her integration of indigenous voices into the debates."—Lucy Lippard, author of The Pink Glass Swan: Selected Feminist Essays on ArtFur has been sparking controversies ever since sumptuary laws marked it as a luxury item and as a sign of medieval class privilege. Drawing on wide-ranging historical and contemporary sources, Julia V. Emberley explains how a material good has become both a symbol of wealth and sexuality, and a symptom of class, gender, and imperial antagonisms.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this well-written treatise, Emberley . . . views fur through widely disparate lenses. . . . Emberley is able to make us understand all the viewpoints she presents. . . . A valuable book on a little-explored subject."—Library Journal

"This book embodies feminist cultural studies at its best. It sets environmental and specifically ecofeminist advocacy of animal rights against the material and cultural imperatives of groups—including First Nation peoples in Canada and 'fur factory' workers in Korea—whose survival depends on fur production. Julia Emberley takes the claims of both sides with the utmost seriousness and, in attempting to find a balance where perhaps there is none, examines the imagery of the anti-fur movement as well as the relation of fur to cultural representations of class, gender, and sexuality."—Women's Review of Books

"Emberley is interested in deconstructing notions of the 'animal,' the 'natural' and, of course, 'woman.' She is interested in how ideologies of gender, class and cultural 'difference' are organized and in what they conceal and reveal. The Cultural Politics of Fur makes an important contribution to the field of feminist cultural studies. . . Scholars working in gender, middle-class femininity and consumption; fashion; or the history of sexuality and of pornography will find the book a useful contribution to their fields. . . . Activists working to develop theory for a truly anti-racist, anti-colonialist and feminist environmental movement will be stimulated by Emberley's provocative arguments."—Julia V. Emberley, Resources for Feminist Research. May 2, 2000.

"This is a strong and intelligent work on a controversial topic. Emberley's book is much more intellectually sophisticated than anything else I've seen on this subject."—Valerie Steele, Chief Curator, Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology

"Julia Emberley's book is a complex, wide-ranging, and fascinating feminist critique of the history and meaning of fur and fashion. Particularly unique is her integration of indigenous voices into the debates."—Lucy Lippard, author of The Pink Glass Swan: Selected Feminist Essays on Art

"A fascinating account of the powerful roles fur has played in various cultures and of the historical and political forces at work in the play of its meanings."—Jonathan Culler, Cornell University

Library Journal
In this well-written treatise, Emberley women's and gender studies, Univ. of Northern British Columbia views fur through widely disparate lenses. In the case of the animal rights movement, fur is seen as gratuitous violence and gross cruelty. To the Dene and Inuit people, it is a source of income and survival. Emberley guides us through these contrasting images with a low-key insistence that fur is exactly what our culture makes of it: status symbol, fashion find, or political point. Emberley is able to make us understand all the viewpoints she presents, but she never allows us to catch on to her perspective or her passion. Still, this is a valuable book on a little-explored subject, especially the discussion of "mother as hunter" in Native peoples' society. It is unfortunate that Emberley appears so detached from it all. Recommended for specialized collections in feminism and native studies.Alicia Graybill, Lincoln City Libs., Neb.
Lillian S. Robinson
"...The book embodies feminist cultural studies at its best. it sets environmenal and specifically ecofeminist advocacy of animal rights against the material and cultural impreratives of groups -- including First Nation people sin Canada and "fur factory" workers in Korea -- whose survival depends on fur production. Julia Emberley takes the claims of both sides with the utmost seriousness and, in attemption to find a balnace where perhaps ther is none, examines the imagery of the anti-fur movement as well as the relation of fur to cultural representations of class, gender and sexuality....I enjoyed readign this book, learned much from it and have had fun writing about it...." -- The Women's Review of Books
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801484049
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Table of Contents

Figures
Preface
Introduction: An Obscure Object of Desire 1
1 Simulated Politics 21
2 The Sumptuous Details of History 43
3 The Masochist's Gift 73
4 The Fecundity of Fur 103
5 How to Misread Fashion 136
6 Furs in Disguise 170
Afterword 205
Notes 209
Bibliography 235
Index 243
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