'"Monster top-knots and balloon chignons" : purity and contamination in the false hair trade

Allan, JM 2017, ''"Monster top-knots and balloon chignons" : purity and contamination in the false hair trade' , in: A Cultural History of Hair in the Age of Empire (1800-1920) , The Cultural History Series , Bloomsbury, London. (In Press)

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Abstract

Writing the hidden histories of the “things” that sit at the heart of thing theory, early advocates such as Elaine Freedgood (2006) and John Plotz (2009) have revealed the social and historical, personal and imperial significance of seemingly mundane Victorian objects, demanding recognition for what is too familiar to register as meaningful. At the same time, such readings have foregrounded the extent to which nineteenth-century subjects depend on inanimate objects in the construction (and reconstruction) of classed and gendered identities. Adding to this growing body of work, this chapter will explore the histories and biographies of the false hair that was imported into England by the ton to create the elaborate coiffures that, together with the appropriate dress and accessories, created the appearance of genteel femininity in the 1860s and 70s. Equally important, it will also consider how the use of such hair – sourced from the heads of peasant “growers” or less palatable sources – challenged notions of purity and cleanliness upon which contemporary constructions of femininity were seen to depend.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Series Name: The Cultural History Series
Depositing User: JM Allan
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2017 14:04
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2017 14:05
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/44308

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