Shahidha Bari

Professor, University of the Arts London

Shahidha Bari is Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London and Fellow of the Forum for European Philosophy at the LSE. She teaches literature, philosophy and visual culture. She features regularly on Radio 4’s Front Row and Saturday Review, and is a reviewer for the Financial Times, the Guardian and the TLS. She is an occasional presenter of Radio 3’s Arts and Ideas programme, Free Thinking. She was selected as a Radio 3 New Generation Thinker in 2011 and was the winner of the Observer Anthony Burgess Prize in 2014. Her next book, “Dressed”, explores the philosophy of clothes.

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What do clothes say?

Shahidha Bari

Hello, many thanks for taking the time to read the article and for all comments. Apologies for this late (and collective) response. Carlyle is a very important thinker for me. He is missing here, but not in my thinking. Sartor Resartus is a wonderfully ironic and odd text, but much more relevant (and troubling) is Carlyle’s later essay the “Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question”. As I say above, Marx reminds us that the fetish of commodity fetishism comes via Portuguese sailors in West Africa, and Carlyle similarly always makes me think that there is no way of understanding clothes without the history of slavery and empire. This is at the heart of my thinking about clothes and why I ...

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