Costume: Performing Identities Through Dress

Pravina Shukla (Author)


What does it mean to people around the world to put on costumes to celebrate their heritage, reenact historic events, assume a role on stage, or participate in Halloween or Carnival? Self-consciously set apart from everyday dress, costume marks the divide between ordinary and extraordinary settings and enables the wearer to project a different self or special identity. Pravina Shukla offers richly detailed case studies from the United States, Brazil, and Sweden to show how individuals use costumes for social communication and to express facets of their personalities.

Product Details

$40.00  $36.00
Indiana University Press
Publish Date
April 06, 2015
7.0 X 0.9 X 9.4 inches | 2.1 pounds
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About the Author

Pravina Shukla is Associate Professor of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University Bloomington. She is author of The Grace of Four Moons: Dress, Adornment, and the Art of the Body in Modern India (IUP, 2007), winner of the Costume Society of America's Millia Davenport prize and the Coomaraswamy Prize, Association for Asian Studies. She is editor (with Ray Cashman and Tom Mould) of The Individual and Tradition: Folkloristic Perspectives (IUP, 2011).


"Although her book is based on scholarly research, Shukla's engaging writing style and rich illustrations make for a highly accessible and enduring work.... Highly recommended."


"Written in straightforward and enjoyable prose, this text provides a valuable resource both for teachers of material culture and costume researchers. Shukla highlights costume as a method for both socio-cultural and personal expression through vivid portraits of individuals. Visual, accessible, and conscientiously attentive to the people featured, Costume is a broad and thorough examination of how a heightened form of dress indicates to observers a rich and heightened version of self."

--Western Folklore

"This collection of case studies is well worth a read for anyone interested in the physical, psychological, communal, and transformative power of costume."

--Worn Through

"In drawing together these diverse studies and revealing the structural parallels between the behaviours underlying them, she has contributed to the study and interpretation of dress and costume, her ethnographic methodology throughout facilitating an emphasis on shared humanity."

--The Costume Society

"Costume: Performing Identities through Dress is revelatory.... Shukla shares research across three continents... and within several contexts to show how what we wear defines us on personal and community levels.... Costume is a wide-ranging book bringing attention to clothing as part of festivals and folk heritage events, pop culture conventions and dramatic performances."