Theatricality of the Closet: Clothing Controversies in Victorian Britain and Meiji Japan

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Overview

Title
Theatricality of the Closet: Clothing Controversies in Victorian Britain and Meiji Japan
Contributors
Carriger, Michelle Liu (creator)
Ybarra, Patricia (Director)
Schneider, Rebecca (Reader)
Bernstein, Robin (Reader)
Brown University. Theatre Studies (sponsor)
Doi
10.7301/Z03X84ZJ
Copyright Date
2013
Abstract
Using three cases of fashion controversy that took place across the globe during a very small window of time (1868-1872), I articulate ways in which the everyday practice of clothing the body helped to produce and fix the shifting meanings of the body and the subject in Britain and Japan. I employ a performance theory lens to help account for the contradictory ways in which fashion and its effects were employed and understood within their specific milieux as well as by historians after the fact. I anchor my analysis to two British controversies revolving around gender, sexuality, and fashion: the 1868 “Girl of the Period” craze and the 1871 Boulton and Park felony trial for cross-dressing. Then I add to these concerns a focus on race and nationalism by turning my attention to the first importation of western fashions into Japan during the Meiji restoration period. I conclude by examining the contemporary Gothic Lolita fashion trend in which the Victorian fashions imported into Japan over a century ago are now being exported back from Japan to enthusiasts around the world, thereby closing a circle of transnational cultural mimesis that circulates across space and time. I attend especially to the ways in which notions of theatricality in clothing and fashion have been used both to articulate and mystify the discourses of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and modernity in their work upon bodies. By offering a means of applying performance theories to historiography of everyday life, I work to expand our understandings of “theatricality” and demonstrate how paradigms of performance can enhance our historiographical undertakings.
Keywords
theatricality
clothing
sexuality
Victorian
Britain
Meiji
Historiography
Fashion
Sex
Performance
Notes
Thesis (Ph.D. -- Brown University (2013)
Extent
x, 218 p.

Citation

Carriger, Michelle Liu, "Theatricality of the Closet: Clothing Controversies in Victorian Britain and Meiji Japan" (2013). Theatre Arts and Performance Studies Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. https://doi.org/10.7301/Z03X84ZJ

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