Preliminary Programme

Wed 12 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Thu 13 April
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    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Fri 14 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Sat 15 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00

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Friday 14 April 2023 16.30 - 18.30
Q-12 MAT08 Marketing Goods in the 20th Century
E44
Network: Material and Consumer Culture Chair: Christine Fertig
Organizers: - Discussants: -
Emily Baines : Dresses for Matrons and Girls: Age-Defined Fashion in the Interwar Period
This paper examines the social constructs relating to the body and its appropriate clothing for adult women at different life stages, as shown in women’s magazines and catalogues of the interwar period. The Girl – sometimes Maid – and Matron were considered as problematic categories in magazines of the period; ... (Show more)
This paper examines the social constructs relating to the body and its appropriate clothing for adult women at different life stages, as shown in women’s magazines and catalogues of the interwar period. The Girl – sometimes Maid – and Matron were considered as problematic categories in magazines of the period; there was also a more generic default category of Ladies, when broader Ladieswear was shown. The analysis focuses especially on the Co-operative Women’s Outlook, a comparatively progressive magazine that gave advice on the social role and dress of the Modern Girl and the Matron. The Modern Girl was controversial, scandalous in her slangy phrases, her dancing, cocktail-drinking, cigarette-smoking and lack of respect for parental guidance; but also a business girl, learning independence of judgement while fending for herself in ‘digs’. There was a clear code of appropriate dress for businesswear, as well as informal day dresses, sportwear and eveningwear seen as suitable for the younger woman.
The Matron category could apply to any mother, but it appears to mainly refer to women of forty-five or fifty and older. The assumption was that a Matron would be ‘stoutish’ and should wear dark, loose, concealing clothes, preferably in black, brown or dark navy. These paradigms of age-appropriate clothing indicate the ‘cultural invisibility’ expected of older women (Twigg, 2017, 2012), in which the older body is unacceptable and should be erased from view. There is a symbolic order relating to age that dominates the individual identity, demonstrating the degree to which the body is a historically-situated social and cultural construct (Sayer, 2002; Entwisle, 2000; Cavallera & Warwick, 1998; Turner, 1985). However, in Women’s Outlook, an awareness that much of their readership may be in the ‘matron’ age group inflects their readings of fashion collections, bringing a more inclusive approach to fashion journalism with practical guidance on the adaptations of current youth-orientated fashions to wider age groups. The focus of the Matron’s life was considered to be their husband, children and home – “though her own needs are always secondary, there is no reason why her garments should not be well cut” (Women’s Outlook May 1924, p286). In contrast to this broader expectation underlying their fashion advice, gender stereotypes were challenged within Woman’s Outlook with regular features on role models such as woman engineers, representatives of a Peace League or World Congress of Women, councillors and Members of Parliament, and older women were encouraged to learn new skills to become active Co-operative Women’s Guild members and leaders. Conventions of age-appropriate dress and behaviour are deeply embedded in many cultures, but were being challenged in this period. (Show less)

Mona Rudolph : A Valuable Commodity? Commodity Chain, Commodification, and Perception of Diamonds from Colonial Namibia from 1920 to 1950
„A little light, so constant and so sweetly clear it finds his heart across the widest waters and hours of loneliness. That is his diamond on her finger – an ever-fixes beacon, pledge to safe home-comings and fair rewards in their new-day life to be.”

In my presentation I ... (Show more)
„A little light, so constant and so sweetly clear it finds his heart across the widest waters and hours of loneliness. That is his diamond on her finger – an ever-fixes beacon, pledge to safe home-comings and fair rewards in their new-day life to be.”

In my presentation I will focus on the production, distribution, and consumption of diamonds from colonial Namibia via Europe to the USA from 1920 to 1950. I will work out how the per-ception of the gemstones changed along the individual processing stages, on the different conti-nents and over time. More specifically, I will analyze why the stones in their raw state were con-sidered to be of such low value, whereas after processing in Amsterdam or Antwerp, they were regarded as valuable gems and bought by American consumers. With the help of the economic theorem of the Veblen effect, I will also show that diamonds have developed into a demonstra-tive consumer object over time. Initially regarded as mere gemstones, more and more buyers opted for the pale stones because they could use the diamonds to flaunt their wealth. After all, diamonds were so expensive that only men and women of the upper class could afford the pre-cious stones.
In my presentation, I will also explain how and why the places where diamonds were sold in the USA have changed. In the beginning, the stones were sold in selected jewelry shops, but later they were mainly sold by large department stores' chains and mail-order companies. This devel-opment had far-reaching consequences for the perception of diamonds: Brilliants were offered more frequently and at lower prices, which gradually led consumers to perceive them as vulgar gemstones. Diamond producers, such as DeBeers, had to spend a lot of money to counteract this impression and to present diamonds as popular consumer objects.
I will also illustrate how diamonds were marketed in the USA. Using archival sources from Washington D.C., I will show that the DeBeers company used a multifaceted advertising strate-gy to reinforce the impression among consumers that diamonds were particularly valuable piec-es of jewelry. This strategy was extremely successful, as the demand for the stones increased year after year in the USA. I will discuss the reasons for this success in my presentation, as well as the complex marketing of diamonds in the DeBeers advertisements.
My presentation will draw from extensive source material and theoretical approaches used in my dissertation on the commodity chain of diamonds from colonial Namibia to Europe and the USA, as well as the latest research on cultural and economic history. For my presentation I will consider sources from African, European, and American archives, with particular reference to the advertising posters of the DeBeers company for the marketing of diamonds in the USA from the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. (Show less)

Will Wilson : IVA 65, Cold War Culture, and the Masculinity of Modernity
Exhibitions are cultural institutions with public appeal, in which “some of the most contested and thorny cultural and epistemological questions of the late twentieth century were fought out.” This study examines the material culture on display in the International Exhibition of Transport and Communication (IVA 65) of 1965 held in ... (Show more)
Exhibitions are cultural institutions with public appeal, in which “some of the most contested and thorny cultural and epistemological questions of the late twentieth century were fought out.” This study examines the material culture on display in the International Exhibition of Transport and Communication (IVA 65) of 1965 held in Munich, Germany with a focus on its formative role in the interpellation of gendered subject identity and cultural diplomacy during the cold war era. The Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) sanctioned the exhibition under the category of special Expo on 13 November 1962, fifteen months after the beginning of the construction of the Berlin Wall that reinforced the cold war division of Germany into east and west. In 1965, on the twentieth anniversary marking the end of World War II, the exhibition, spread over fifty hectares in Bavaria part near the city centre, opened on 25 June and operated for one hundred and one days. The official report counted 3,200,000 visitors including 385,000 from foreign nations. Visitor statistics betray gender specificity. While the exhibition was promoted as family-oriented event tourism, its specialist audience comprised mainly adult male visitors. 71 per cent of visitors were adult males. IVA 65 gave form to a masculine modernity with its privileging of large-scale industrial production, display of standardized material objects, and exhibition of productive, physical male industrial labour male labour. Under the leadership of Helmut Fischer, executive president of the IVA, and sponsorship of West German President Heinrich Lubke, planning, development, and organisational control over the exhibition remained in the hands of male officials. Female labour, by contrast, consisted primarily of service work. The display of mass transit and telecommunications, including airplanes, trains, ships, cargo trucks, passenger vehicles, rockets, satellites and space stations betrayed a decidedly masculine imagining of industrial modernity through history and into the future to a contemporary audience. At the same time, the commercially-oriented material culture on display mobilized a shift in perspective toward postmodern consumer society.
A total of thirty-six nations and international participants took part in the exhibition. Officials adhered to the BIE mandate that exhibits be displayed in theme pavilions rather than national pavilion to promote international cooperation. Consequently, the exhibition promoted American-led “bridge-building” policies directing western engagement with European communist countries to foster a cooperative environment to deal with economic and political issues on a global scale. Yet, in its “power of making things visible”, IVA 65 was notable for the near absence of material goods of communist nations. This absence ensured that it secured in institutionalized and material form an official collective ‘memory of the modern’ defined as one of masculine productivity, individual consumption and mass mobility. While the East German press provided scant coverage of the exhibition, reporting on the eve of the exhibition, West Germany’s popular weekly news magazine Der Spiegel teased its readers with the prospects of the exhibition’s “All-out fun!” Above all, Germany’s first international exhibition proclaimed to the world that the nation’s citizens had earned the right to enjoy themselves again. (Show less)



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