“Modern Women Wear Satin: Fabric, Femininity, and Art Deco Hollywood”
Dr. Becky Peterson
Department of Cinematic Arts
Feminist Research Institute Scholar-in-Residence
SUB Cherry/Silver
Tuesday 3/26
12-1 pm

The figure of the woman is found across Art Decostyled architecture and décor. Art Deco, which overlapped with The Great Depression and the emergence of the New Woman in the 1920s and ‘30s, is known for its metallic surfaces, classical references, and depictions of modernity and progress. Culturally, this era saw changes in attitudes toward women and sexuality, as well as attitudes about money and class. Many of the anxieties and fantasies about these changes were enacted on the film screen, and satin material, as both costuming and set décor, is a useful touchstone for investigating how these issues were expressed through the cinematic medium. Satin clings suggestively to the body, capturing and reflecting light in a dramatic manner, directing visual attention to women’s bodies. Examining the use of satin on screen reveals the contradictory perception of (primarily white) women at this time: as both frivolous ornament and as economically valuable and symbolic of a prosperous future.

Dr. Becky Peterson teaches in UNM’s Department of Cinematic Arts. She is currently the 2018-2019 UNM Feminist Scholar-in-Residence. She has published articles in Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture and Arizona Quarterly, as well as in the edited collection Habits of Being: Accessorizing the Body. Her writing has also appeared in Hyperallergic, The Rumpus, Bitch Magazine, and other publications. She holds a PhD from the University of Minnesota and is writing a book about textiles and film.

Game Event at Sandia Labs

Game Event at Sandia Labs

The Project on Nuclear Gaming (PoNG) invites you to play SIGNAL! SIGNAL is an online experimental wargame designed as a new data-generating process for studying nuclear deterrence and conflict escalation. Our team recently published on next generation...

Film & Digital Arts Movie Night

Film & Digital Arts Movie Night

Please join us for Chinatown (1974, 131 minutes) this Friday, July 26, at 7:00 pm in CERIA 365. Free and open to all UNM students. Enter CERIA through the front doors by the fountain. “It’s the Los Angeles that is at the edges of my memory: the Los Angeles...

Film & Digital Arts Movie Night

Film & Digital Arts Movie Night

Twenty years after its debut in theaters, The Matrix remains an exhilarating experience, not simply an homage to cyberpunk novels and Hong Kong martial arts films but a technical marvel of truly inventive filmmaking. Directors Lana and Lilly Wachowski drew...

Film & Digital Arts Movie Night

Film & Digital Arts Movie Night

Louis Kahn designed the Kimbell Art Museum’s original building—a landmark of modern architecture—that opened in Fort Worth in 1972, six years after Dallas mayor J. Erik Jonsson articulated his “Goals for Dallas” in an effort to improve the city’s...

Contact Cinematic Arts

3 + 7 =

How to Apply
Major and Minors
Scholarships