mimi thi nguyen archipelago

Listen: Epidermalization of the Public Body – Clothing and Politics

This podcast is part of Funambulist’s latest podcast series “Archipelago.” In this episode, Mimi Thi Nguyen, a professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies, discusses the politics surrounding clothing and fashion.

Nothing of what we wear is politically innocent. Our clothing constitutes the skin of our public body, what Mimi Thi Nguyen calls its “epidermalization.” This public body is read through a set of norms and expectations that crystallize society’s ostracism. Mimi and I talked about normative processes that unfold themselves through clothing (the hoody, the veil, the sweatpants), as well as neo-colonial politics implemented in the various American military operations in countries like Vietnam and Afghanistan.

Mimi Thi Nguyen is also author of “The Gift of Freedom: War, Debt, and Other Refugee Passages.”