At Religion in American History, Ed Blum moderated a series of post (part I, II and III) on clothes and the study of religion, including Pamela Klassen, S. Brent Plate and yours truly. Here’s an excerpt from Ed’s intro to the series:
We all know that clothes matter. We try them and buy them; we comment on them; we wash them, iron them, fold them, organize and arrange them. We feel sad when they fit tighter and tighter (and by “we” I mean me). And of course, clothes are vital to religious presentations and identities. For those of us who use Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” video in our classes, we probably interrogate the difference of clothing between Madonna’s sleeveless and skimpy brown dress that highlights her pale skin and the cross on her chest and the full choir robe – red and black – that covers just about all of the skin of the main black female choir singer. In a video that challenges variants of white supremacy (including Klanish burning crosses and a legal system that seems to assume black guiltiness), clothing works to enhance white exposure and black enclosure.
And here’s the “Like A Prayer” Video, just for kicks.