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Malfunctions: Ethics and Ontologies for Dressing-Up

Daniel Voorthuis


Dressing-up in The Netherlands is a very current topic. Zwarte Piet is the racial caricature used during the Dutch Saint Nicholas Day celebrations and this black-face ritual signals the racial tensions in The Netherlands and Belgium. During the recent Black Lives Matter protests in the Netherlands, thousands chanted for the removal of black-face from state-organized ceremonies. The shifting public opinion in its condemnation of black-face is used by its proponents as caveats against American colonialism, globalization—and subsequent eradication of tradition—and over-saturation by political correctness. The stakes for considering how to dress up ethically are high. The example of Zwarte Piet and Transvestite Achilles prompts the urgency of questioning the narratives of dressing-up and their relation to political representation of gender and race,, but also reaffirm the need for alternative make-up practices that celebrate gender, racial inclusivity and diversity

Supervisor: Dr. Pavlos Kountouriotis

External Mentor: Zhana Ivanovan

Keywords: fashion, mythology, queer

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