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Politics of Dress in Asia and the Americas by Mina Roces

Politics of Dress in Asia and the Americas


Politics of Dress in Asia and the Americas by Mina Roces

This book explores the ways in which dress has been influential in the political agendas and self-representations of politicians in a variety of regimes from democratic to authoritarian. Arguing that dress is part of 'hard core' politics, it shows how dress has been crucial to the constructions of nationhood and national identities in both Asia and the Americas. Since dress has been a marker of identity and status, chapters engage with the gendering of the politics of dress, discussing how women have become bearers and wearers of 'national tradition' and how men and women's dress reflect their political positions in the nation-state. It examines the magical power of cloth, the meanings of batik and design, the holy status of uncut cloth versus cut cloth, and the quaint combination of non-Western with Western attire. This collection of pioneering essays fills a vacuum in the largely Eurocentric field of dress studies, demanding that attention be paid to Asia and the Americas as major sites of vestimentary creativity.


A truly fascinating and original collection of essays. By discussing the reciprocal relationship between dress and political identity and action, the authors in this book provide a fresh and very insightful entry into analyses of the every-changing relation between power and gender. The instances which are described are taken from all around the Pacific rim, thus providing important elements for comparison, both within the wider region itself and through the rest of the world. Those of us who work on other parts of the world can only be jealous. -- Robert Ross, Professor of African History, Leiden University

About the Author

Mina Roces teaches in the School of History, at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, Australia. She is author of Women, Power and Kinship Politics: Female Power in Post-War Philippines. Louise Edwards is Professor of China Studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. She has published widely in the field of women in China. Together with Mina Roces, she has previously edited two influential books on women in Asia.

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Book Info

Publication date

20th January 2010


Mina Roces

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Sussex Academic Press


276 pages




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