WMU News

Dress and textiles expert to visit WMU March 22-23

March 12, 1999

KALAMAZOO-One of the nation's foremost authorities on dress and textiles will visit the Western Michigan University campus March 22-23.

Dr. Joanne Bubolz Eicher, Regents' Professor of Design, Housing and Apparel at the University of Minnesota, is coming to Kalamazoo through the University's Visiting Scholars and Artists Program. Her visit also is sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, the Women's Studies Center and the African Studies Program.

In addition to meeting with WMU faculty and students, Eicher will give three public presentations. Two public presentations on Monday, March 22, include "What's African about African-American Dress" at 10 a.m. and "Dress, Gender and the Public Display of Skin" at 5 p.m., both in Room 2302 of Sangren Hall.

The public also may attend Eicher's presentation "Adolescent Dress as a Symbol of Identity: Clothing Is a Cheap High" at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 23, in Room 3034 of Kohrman Hall.

Eicher's work in cross-cultural studies with emphasis on African Studies stems from her extensive fieldwork in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Her first book, "Dress, Adornment and the Social Order," is considered the forerunner in the social aspects of dress, gender, identity and ethnicity in cultural contexts.

Eicher is known internationally and has lectured around the world. She has received numerous honors, including being named a Regent's Professor, the highest faculty honor possible at the University of Minnesota; a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford in England; and Honored Professor at the Shanghai Textile Engineering College.

A Lansing native, Eicher earned a bachelor's degree as well as master's and doctoral degrees in sociology and anthropology from Michigan State University. She also served as a faculty member at MSU from 1961-82.

The Visiting Scholars and Artists Program was established in 1960 and has supported some 500 visits by scholars and artists representing more than 65 academic disciplines. The chairperson of the committee that oversees the program is Dr. James M. Hillenbrand, professor of speech pathology and audiology.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 616 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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