Some people think that models aren’t so smart…but think again! Models like Alek Wek, Irina Pantaeva and Jillian Shanebrook are accomplished authors, so much so that they’ll soon be the subject of a course at Princeton. Next semester, the university will offer “Model Memoirs: The Life Stories of International Fashion Models.” Here’s the course description from the registrar’s website:
Explores the life-writing of American, African, and Asian women in the fashion industry as a launching point for thinking about race, gender, and class. How do ethnicity and femininity intersect? How are authenticity and difference commodified? How do women construct identities through narrative and negotiate their relationships to their bodies, families, and nations? This course will include guest lectures by fashion editors and models; discussions of contemporary television programs, global fashion, and cultural studies; and student self-narratives about their relationships with cultural standards of beauty, whether vexed or not.
Sample reading list:
Alek Wek, Alek: From Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel
Irina Pantaeva, Siberian Dream
Jillian Shanebrook, Model: Life Behind the Makeup
Waris Diric, Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey of a Desert Nomad
Mary Gaitskill, Veronica
Linda Welters and Abby Lillethun, The Fashion Reader
100 to 250 pages of reading a week; all readings in English
Students will be graded on papers, oral presentations and participation. Don’t worry undergrads–there won’t be a walk-off competition as a final.