African Dress: Fashion, Agency, Performance (2013)

By: Karen Tranberg Hansen, ed.; D. Soyini Madison, ed.

Dress and fashion practices in Africa and the diaspora are dynamic and diverse, whether on the street or on the fashion runway.

Focusing on the dressed body as a performance site, African Dress explores how ideas and practices of dress contest or legitimize existing power structures through expressions of individual identity and the cultural and political order.

Drawing on innovative, interdisciplinary research by established and up and coming scholars, the book examines real life projects and social transformations that are deeply political, revolving around individual and public goals of dignity, respect, status, and morality.

With its remarkable scope, this book will attract students and scholars of fashion and dress, material culture and consumption, performance studies, and art history in relation to Africa and on a global scale.

More Information


London : Bloomsbury, 2013
Format: xviii, 245 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm.
ISBN : 9780857853806  0857853805
OCLC : 816159911  ocn816159911

Table of contents

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
List of contributors
Introduction. Karen Tranberg Hansen, Northwestern University, USA

PART I: Dressed Bodies and Power
1. Dressing for Success: The Politically Performative Quality of an Igbo Woman’s Attire. Misty L. Bastian, Franklin & Marshall College, USA
2. Fashionability in Colonial and Postcolonial Togo. Nina Sylvanus, Northeastern University, USA
3. Branding Festive Bodies: Corporate Logos and Chiefly Image T-shirts in Ghana. Lauren Adrover, Northwestern University, USA

PART II: Material Culture, Visual Recognition, and Display
4. Bazin Riche in Dakar, Senegal: Altered Inception, Use, and Wear. Kelly Kirby, University of Michigan, USA
5. Fashioning People, Crafting Networks: Multiple Meanings in the Mauritanian Veil (Malahfa). Katherine Wiley, Indiana University, USA
6. The Hijab as Moral Space in Northern Nigeria. Elisha P. Renne, University of Michigan, USA

PART III: Connecting Worlds through Dress
7. Dressing the Colonial Body: Senegalese Rifleman in Uniform. Keith Rathbone, Northwestern University, USA
8. Ghana Boys in Mali: Fashion, Youth, and Travel. Victoria L. Rovine, University of Florida, USA
9. Forging Connections, Performing Distinctions: Youth, Dress, and Consumption in Niger. Adeline Masquelier, Tulane University, USA
10. Fashion, Transnationality, and Swahili Men. Tina Mangieri, SIT, USA

PART IV: Transculturated Bodies
11. Photography, Poetry, and the Dressed Bodies of Léopold Sédar Senghor. Leslie W. Rabine, University of California, Davis, USA
12. Transculturated Displays: International Fashion and West African Portraiture. Candace M. Keller, Michigan State University, USA
13. Spectacular Dress: Africanisms in the Fashions and Performances of Josephine Baker, 1925-1975. Bennetta Jules-Rosette, University of California, San Diego, USA
14. Dressing Out-of-Place: From Ghana to Obama Commemorative Cloth on the American Red Carpet. D. Soyini Madison, Northwestern University, USA


About the author

About the author

Karen Tranberg Hansen is Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University, USA.

D. Soyini Madison is Professor of Performance Studies with affiliate appointments in the Department of Anthropology and African American Studies at Northwestern University, USA.

Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Hahn, Hans Peter. Review of African Dress: fashion, agency, performance, by Karen Tranberg Hansen and D. Soyini Madisoni. Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute 87, no. 1 (2017): 218-220.

Student reviews