Carson Phillips: Who What Wear? Emerging Gender Constructs in Post-war Vienna
My point of departure is the crisis of masculinity that engulfed Germanophone Europe at the end of the Second World War. The diversity of how men and women re-conceptualised themselves and re-established their place in the newly emergent society is at the core of this project. By locating, analysing, and putting forward concise models of gender constructs that emerged in Vienna in the aftermath of the Second World War, my project bridges the two historical periods while demonstrating the continued effects of the Holocaust upon societal conceptualizations of gender. I offer multiple analyses and the perceptions of gender in Vienna.
This presentation will include the findings from my research thus far conducted at VWI. I expect to access material to support my thesis that gender constructs are fluid and are responsive to many types of stimuli – social, political, economic – and that this reality remained true in post-war Vienna. A primary lens of inquiry will be archival photographs gleaned from journals, magazines, newspapers and private collections to elucidate the new constructs of gender. I expect my research to illuminate how and to what extent outside fashion influences, including those in the Soviet sphere of influence from 1945-1955, shaped Austrian constructs of gender. Similarly, I intend to demonstrate what internal factors contributed to the organic re-development of gender constructs in Austria. This presentation will outline how evidence uncovered during my fellowship has illustrated these external and internal forces that shape gender, and as well, what questions the research provokes. Constructs of gender, as seen in fashion and society, will be brought to the contemporary sphere with an explorative analysis of the correlation between the wearing of traditional clothing (Tracht) with conservative and liberal constructs of gender and politics.
Carson Phillips is currently Research Fellow at the VWI. He completed his PhD in Humanities utilising archival resources, memoirs and testimony exploring post-Holocaust conceptualisations of masculinity. He is an editorial board member of PRISM – An Interdisciplinary Journal for Holocaust Educators, and an expert on Holocaust pedagogy. From 2009–2014, he was a delegate to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – IHRA.