Past & Present: Beauty, Fashion and History (V1475)

30 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

Notions of beauty and fashion not merely represent, but intrinsically help shape, conceptions of class, gender, national and racial identities, selfhood and sexuality, in both the past and the present.

Focusing on the western world since the mid-nineteenth century, you’ll explore the value of clothing and beauty products in appreciating the broader connections between business history, gender history, the history of the body, the histories of race and empire, performance studies, media culture and historical geography.

Topics included are:

  • Dior and the cult of the fashion designer
  • the corset and nineteenth-century femininity
  • male uniforms and fashion
  • black hairstyles in the 1960s
  • film stars as fashion icons.


33%: Lecture
67%: Seminar


100%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 36 hours of contact time and about 264 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: