Hall Center For The Humanities

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Ann Schofield American Studies/Women
Gender & Sexuality Studies

Respectability Final Wrap-up Session
Colloquia : Fall Faculty Colloquium 2009: Respectability

Tue., Nov. 17, 2009, 9:00am - 10:30am
Location: Hall Center Seminar Room
Respectability, like pornography, is difficult to define but we believe we know it when we see it. Despite the challenge a definition of respectability poses for the person on the street, when one turns to scholarship in a variety of disciplines, it seems that a concern for respectability is everywhere -- anthropologists debate the difference between respectability and reputation in the Caribbean, labor historians ask how the working class distinguished itself as respectable, students of African American culture deploy "the politics of respectability", and gender scholars ask if respectability limits or empowers women and men. Respectability can be embedded in objects like pianos and violated by artists like les fauves. Respectability plots drive English literature from Austen to Dickens and social scientists question the relationship of respectability to class. In other words, one would be hard pressed to find a field in the humanities of social sciences where respectability can't be fruitfully studied.
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