A Body and Sex Issue? Fashion in Colonial Dakar


  • Ndiouga Benga History Department, University Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal




woman, fashion, autonomy, hybridization, politics, erotism, Dakar


Dressing mode pretends to exist in urban areas at both local and global levels. This cosmopolitanism is based on a mix of aesthetic and symbolic elements that cross borders.This essay analyses how in the colonial period fashion became a means for the girl living in Dakar to contest the established social, political and cultural order and to build up an identity. It examines the dynamic relationship between the body and clothing and raises questions that have been directed previously generally to a Western context. It shows how the body and its adornment have been used to construct and contest social identities during colonial times. Grounded in the insight of history, and influenced by developments of cultural studies, this essay investigates the relations between the woman and the public space, and between ideas of the self and those about the family and gender. It explores the bodily and material creation of the changing identities of women, youths through a consideration of topics such as fashion.

Author Biography

  • Ndiouga Benga, History Department, University Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal
    Senior Lecturer, History Departement, University Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar


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