This final volume in the four-volume series Habits of Being shows how the dialectic between everyday appearance and outrageous acts is mediated through clothing and accessories. It considers how clothing and accessories can move quickly from the ordinary to the extravagant. Employing many different approaches, these essays explore how wearing an object—a crown, a flower, an earring, a corsage, a veil, even a length of material—can stray beyond the bounds of the body on which it is placed into the discrepant territory of flagrantly excessive public signs of love, status, honor, prestige, power, desire, and display.
The varied contributions of scholars (historians, ethnographers, literary and film critics) and artists (photographers, sculptors, writers, weavers, and embroiderers) take up the threads of these forays into history, psyche, and aesthetics in surprising and useful ways. With examples from around the world, contributors address how the simple action of ornamenting the body, even with something as common as a button, are open to elaborate interpretations—which themselves offer new understandings of human behavior and artistic endeavor. When our “habits of being” receive close scrutiny, they seem anything but habitual.
Contributors: Mariapia Bobbiobi; Camilla Cattarulla, U of Rome Three; Paola Colaiacomo, Sapienza, U of Rome; Maria Damon, Pratt Institute of Art; Joanne B. Eicher, U of Minnesota; Maria Giulia Fabi, U of Ferrara; Margherita di Fazio; Adeena Karasick, Fordham U; Tarrah Krajnak, Pitzer College; Charlotte Nekola, William Paterson U; Victoria R. Pass, Maryland Institute College of Art; Amanda Salvioni, U of Macerata; Maria Anita Stefanelli, U of Rome Three.