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On Their Dress They Wore a Body: Fashion and Identity in Late Qing Shanghai

On Their Dress They Wore a Body: Fashion and Identity in Late Qing Shanghai In many cultures undressing—oneself and others—is considered a very erotic and enticing activity. The present essay, however, argues that leaving someone’s clothes on can be just as interesting and titillating—at least within the context of academic research.1 Thus it is centered on fictional representations of clothed bodies and fashion in Shanghai within the realm of late Qing literary production.2 As it will become clear from the following positions 11:2 © 2003 by Duke University Press positions 11:2 Fall 2003 discussion, in vernacular novels written between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, clothes do much more than simply cover fictional bodies. They also constitute their social, gender, national, and racial identities. Focusing on the dialectic relationship between the body, clothing, and identity will help us to unravel the imaginary of a very interesting group of writers in one of the most fascinating junctures in Chinese literature and history.3 In the past twenty years, the scholarship produced about fashion and the body in many different fields has shown that in any given culture, fabricating a dress and wearing it simultaneously define the body as a cultural artifact.4 In other words, we cannot think http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png positions asia critique Duke University Press

On Their Dress They Wore a Body: Fashion and Identity in Late Qing Shanghai

positions asia critique , Volume 11 (2) – Sep 1, 2003

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References (72)

Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2003 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1067-9847
eISSN
1527-8271
DOI
10.1215/10679847-11-2-301
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In many cultures undressing—oneself and others—is considered a very erotic and enticing activity. The present essay, however, argues that leaving someone’s clothes on can be just as interesting and titillating—at least within the context of academic research.1 Thus it is centered on fictional representations of clothed bodies and fashion in Shanghai within the realm of late Qing literary production.2 As it will become clear from the following positions 11:2 © 2003 by Duke University Press positions 11:2 Fall 2003 discussion, in vernacular novels written between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, clothes do much more than simply cover fictional bodies. They also constitute their social, gender, national, and racial identities. Focusing on the dialectic relationship between the body, clothing, and identity will help us to unravel the imaginary of a very interesting group of writers in one of the most fascinating junctures in Chinese literature and history.3 In the past twenty years, the scholarship produced about fashion and the body in many different fields has shown that in any given culture, fabricating a dress and wearing it simultaneously define the body as a cultural artifact.4 In other words, we cannot think

Journal

positions asia critiqueDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2003

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