08/10/2014 Religious and Literary Responses to Cultural Challenges

08/10/2014 Religious and Literary Responses to Cultural Challenges

Heather Walton
(University of Glasgow)

Part of: Literature, Theology and the Arts Research Seminars. Upper Seminar Room, Wed 5.00 p.m.

Woman in a red dress: pleasure, politics and spirituality in new materialist theory. Already a polyvalent image in secular and sacred art, fiction, fashion and erotica the woman in a red dress has recently been reconfigured as a symbol of protest in campaigns led by women from Turkey to Nigeria. This paper explores the materiality behind the metaphor. Drawing upon the work of new materialist writers, as well as theorists of ‘everyday life’, it explores the difference a dress makes. Instead of assuming clothing to be of trivial significance the paper acknowledges its ambiguous function in women’s lives but insists upon its creative function in what de Certeau has described as the ‘sweet obstinacy’ of everyday resistance. Following de Certeau I explore the spiritual significance of the mundane world and what wearing a red dress can mean for identity, personhood and the way we place ourselves within the sacred economy.


First published: 17 October 2014