Fashion & Philosophy

New School for Social Research: Philosophy

Liberal Arts

Graduate Course

Degree Students (with Restrictions)

Fashion & Philosophy

Fall 2021

Taught By: Gwen Grewal

Section: A

CRN: 11215

Credits: 3

There is a quarrel between philosophy and fashion, lesser known than but as ancient as the quarrel between philosophy and poetry. This quarrel, too, is the reflection of an apparent philosophic partiality to being over appearing. Fashion has a reputation for being swept up by the phenomena. In its preoccupation with beautiful surfaces, it flirts with the sophistic view that reality is mere shadow play, and so presses the deepest of philosophical buttons. But is there more to fashion than meets the eye? The “philosopher”, turned quasi-professional in Plato’s Academy and newly clad in tailormade nudity, is a politically controversial figure akin to fashion’s most powerful insurgent, the dandy. The dandy, at once rebel and gadfly, takes after both Alcibiades and Socrates, sporting a leisurely knack for understanding and undermining the power of appearances. This course will pay special attention to the kinship between dressing and dying, reimagining philosophy’s desire for disembodied observation as potentially equivalent to a wish to displace and transcend the self with a meta-nudity of clothes. What is the status of “body” in philosophy and fashion? Is an attentiveness to appearances required for philosophy’s inquiry into what is beyond them? Is this the “fashion sense”? We will discuss these topics primarily through a close reading of texts from Euripides and Plato, alongside excerpts from later thinkers—Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly, Simone de Beauvoir, Anne Hollander, and others—and relevant movements in fashion, such as la Sape.

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Philosophy (GPHI)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: September 13, 2021 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 21, 2021 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 8:58pm 12/8/2021 EST

Meeting Info:

Days: Monday

Times: 4:00pm - 5:50pm

Building: 6 East 16th Street

Room: 908

Date Range: 8/30/2021 - 12/13/2021