Who would’ve thought that 2020 would unfold into a terrifying sci-fi flick, converting our daily work, exercise and social routines into virtual events? Finding resourceful ways to spend the time that’s been freed up from grinding commutes and, let’s admit, FOMO, has become the new norm. But as no virus is capable of killing our love of learning, the Brooklyn Institute’s upcoming Philosophy of Fashion online course immediately piqued our interest.
It’s quite rare these days that the intellectual realm of philosophy would find itself bumping up against the oft fleeting world of fashion (we recommend reaching back to Roland Barthes’ exalted 1967 work The Fashion System), let alone become the topic of an extended course. But for those who thrive on dichotomy, the class provides a case study that answers fashion-focused cerebral questions: “What does fashion have to do with modernity, political economy, commodity fetishism, media and climate change?” and “How does the philosophy of fashion intersect with ideas about gender, class, identity, morality, politics, and sex?” Essentially, despite its reputation as being ephemeral, what depths does it uncover about us?
The course was designed and will be led by Rebecca Ariel Porte, Ph.D, and core faculty member at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. Looking at the philosophy, theory, and history of fashion, Porte will turn to writings from influential theorists, sociologists, philosophers, and biologists including Walter Benjamin, Judith Butler, Karl Marx and Charles Darwin.
The four week course begins Wednesday, April 8th and runs through the 29th—so one might emerge from quarantine with a much keener understanding of why we wear what we wear.