Villanova University Gender and Women’s Studies Conference Welcomes Valerie Steele, PhD, Director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology

Prominent fashion historian and curator speaks on “Chanel and her Rivals”

Valerie Steele
Photo by Aaron Cobbett

Valerie Steele, PhD, director and chief curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, is credited with creating the modern field of fashion studies and raising public awareness of the cultural, political and social significance of fashion. As the keynote speaker of the 2017 Villanova University Gender and Women’s Studies Conference, Dr. Steele will speak on “Chanel and her Rivals” on Friday, April 7 at 4:30 p.m. in the Connelly Cinema on Villanova’s campus.

At this annual conference, the Gender and Women’s Studies Program in Villanova University’ s College of Liberal Art and Sciences celebrates gender-focused research through student performances and a keynote address from a nationally recognized scholar.

Dr. Steele is the founder and editor-in-chief of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture—an academic journal that explores the sociology, art history, consumption and anthropology of fashion. An accomplished academic, she has written more than a dozen books including Shoe Obsession and Fashion Designers A-Z: The Collection of the Museum at FIT and has curated exhibits including “Gothic: Dark Glamour” and “A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk.” Dr. Steele holds a PhD in European cultural and intellectual history from Yale University.

“Dr. Steele is the world's most prominent fashion historian. She, more than any other scholar, helped to take the study of clothing and fashion, in recent decades, from costume history to a politically engaged and theoretically sophisticated academic discipline,” said Timothy McCall, PhD, director of programming for Gender and Women’s Studies and associate professor of Art History. “I am thrilled to bring Dr. Steele to Villanova University as the keynote speaker for the Gender and Women's Studies student research conference.”

Villanova’s Gender and Women’s Studies program invited students from all universities in the Greater Philadelphia Women’s Studies Consortium to submit their research for consideration for the conference. Nearly 100 students will present, about half of whom are undergraduate and graduate Villanova students. There are six panels per session, and each session, broken up thematically, is held in various rooms in the Connelly Center.

The conference is free and open to the public, and the schedule is as follows:

9 a.m. Coffee and Welcome

9:30 - 10:30 a.m. Session One

Panels include: Gender and the Nation, Gender and Violence, Identity and Sexuality in Pop Culture, Writing Genders, Sex and Sexualities and Sexuality and Gender in Visual Art and Architecture

10:45 - 11:45 a.m. Session Two

Panels include: Sex and Gender on Stage, Literary Females and Feminisms, Trans/Queer Identities, Gender and the World of Work, Dimensions of Motherhood and Global Gender Politics

12 - 1 p.m. Lunch Reception (Featuring Alumni/Student Speakers)

1:15 - 2:15 p.m. Session Three

Panels include: Medicine and the Female Body; Race and Gender in Literature, Film, and Music; Becoming Boys and Girls: Gender, Sex and Youth; Gender, Religion and Community; Class, Race, Gender and Disability; and Gender in the Public Sphere

2:30 - 3:45 p.m. Performance Showcase

3:45 - 4:15 p.m. Coffee and Cookies

4:15 - 4:30 Awards Ceremony

4:30 - 5:30 p.m. "Chanel and Her Rivals"

Valerie Steele, director, Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology

About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenged and changing world. With 39 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.

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