Professor Regina Root’s book Couture and Consensus: Fashion and Politics in Postcolonial Argentina was recently awarded the Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies 2012 Arthur P. Whitaker Book Prize at American University. Professor Root’s book, which explores the interaction of power, identity and fashion in post-colonial Argentina. Editorial Edhasa will publish the Spanish translation later this year.
John Incledon of Albright College, a member of the selection committee that included faculty from various disciplines, said, “As a field, Cultural Studies interprets seemingly innocent elements of culture, showing the varied ways in which they can be ideologically molded and manipulated by societal stakeholders… This year’s Whitaker Prize goes to Regina Root of The College of William and Mary for Couture and Consensus: Fashion and Politics in Postcolonial Argentina, published in 2010 by the University of Minnesota Press. From the immense “peinetones” worn by women in the 1820s and 1830s to distance themselves from the fashion and customs of Spain and to aid them in their quest for female emancipation, to the white shawls worn by the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, stitched in blue with the names of their missing loved ones, fashion, she says, “is a carefully constructed language that [can be used] to prescribe limits and proclaim liberation, to establish social categories and delineate political loyalties.” Couture and Consensus is a ground-breaking study on the intersection of fashion and politics.”
According to the Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies, Arthur P. Whitaker (1895-1979) was a distinguished professor of Latin American history for almost thirty years at the University of Pennsylvania until his retirement in 1965. He published some twenty books and numerous articles over a fifty-year career, including a series of books on U.S. relations with Latin America. His alma mater, the University of Tennessee, describes Dr. Whitaker as having been “a pioneer in the development of the study of Latin American history in the U.S.”