Fabric and Flesh: A Tactile Exploration of Personhood and Becoming

Ella Lang

Name: Ella Lang
Major: Anthropology
Minor: Environmental Studies
Advisors: Christa Craven and David McConnell (second reader)

Last year, I became fascinated by the relationships that people have with their clothing that go beyond the superficial or practical, and how these relationships are not necessarily built through a care for clothing or fashion but through the physical act of getting dressed each day. In order to explore bodily relationships with clothing, I interviewed 12 people who sew and/or design clothes. In my analysis, I focus on the ways clothing can bring awareness to a space, provide comfort, or change someone’s actions. I argue that the inevitable orientation towards these materials leads to a becoming of personhood through seen and unseen aspects of the garments from memory or the production process to the texture of the fabric itself. These ideas lead to an understanding of the ways in which the body interacts with other materials and personhood is constantly in flux. You can view the photography portion of my Independent Study on my companion website. Thank you and please ask me any questions that you have about my research.


Ella will be online to field comments on April 16:
10am-noon EDT (Asia: late evening, PST: 6-8am, Africa/Europe: early evening)

Posted in I.S. Symposium 2021, Independent Study.