Moderação: Adriana Bebiano (FLUC/CES)
In this workshop I will be carrying out a critical approach to textile materiality and symbolism as a useful analytical tool in the areas of cultural, literary and gender studies. In order to accomplish this purpose, it will be important to contextualise the Western vision that has been held of sewing as a gendered practice over the centuries, according to the conceptual tradition that has linked it to the construct of femininity since Ancient Greece. Along these lines, I will stress the systematic discrediting that textile activities have suffered despite their relevance not only in artistic historiographies, but also in the very shaping of human civilisation. I will also point out the evolution of the textile paradigm up to the present day, highlighting its contemporary particularities in terms of the digital turn, the forms of community generated around it, or the participation of other sewing identities beyond the feminine.
Then, I will move on to the semiotic dimension of the textile in order to highlight its symbolic impact. This transcendence is materialised in the linguistic sphere within etymological routes and semantic fields that have been sedimented in colloquial language through different metaphors, proverbs and idioms. Likewise, on the divine angle, a significant female textile framework has been created in Greek mythology, in cases such as Penelope, Philomena or Arachne. Notwithstanding, I will mainly focus on the political perspective, where valuable modes of resistance have been conveyed from different spaces of vindication such as armed conflicts, achievement of women’s rights, racial struggles or queer issues. I will illustrate, among others, the contested cases of the Chilean “arpilleras”, originated after the military coup of the Pinochet dictatorship in 1973, the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, initiated in the United States in the 1980s during the HIV and AIDS epidemic, and the transnational collective Queer Threads, which has been formed as an activist artistic group since the last decade.
Celia Torrejón Tobío holds a degree in English Studies and Applied Linguistics from the University of Cádiz. After completing a Master’s degree in Literary and Theatre Studies at the University of Granada, she is pursuing her doctoral studies at the same University in the Languages, Texts and Contexts programme. She specialises in literary, cultural and gender studies and is writing her thesis on the textile symbol in contemporary narrative of English-language women authors. She is currently carrying out a PhD internship at the Centre for Social Studies under the supervision of Professor Adriana Bebiano, thanks to the funding provided by the Erasmus+ internship grant.
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