90976 - Everyday Aesthetics

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Responsible consumption and production

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student is enabled to critically reflect on the processes of aestheticization that affect everyday life and on events, settings and activities in which the faculty of sensibility is saliently at stake, i.e. aesthetic elements in design, urban environments and social practices. He/she is able to interpret these processes as crucial for the creation of fashion products in the current context and as the basis for cultural phenomena of the last decades in various artistic fields (from the visual arts to music, from the performing arts to literature). To this end the course aims at providing the following skills: analyzing phenomena that characterize the contemporary everyday reality; developing a not naive idea of "creativity"; possessing awareness of the social implications of aesthetic phenomena.

Course contents

What kind of knowledge and competence are at stake in fashion in the light of today's challenges? This is the fundamental background question that will guide the development of the course, whose main goal is to analyze the various meanings that fashion takes on (both as implicit practical knowledge and as a social phenomenon) from an aesthetic point of view. This perspective will also serve as a good paradigm for a new conception of the aesthetic that is close to our everyday experience.


A. Attending students: texts provided/indicated by the teacher (taken from essays by Elizabeth Wilson, Ossi Naukkarinen, Gilles Lipovetsky, Joanne Entwistle, Luke Russell et al.).

B. Non-attending students:

1) E. Wilson, Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity, Tauris & Co., London-New York 2003, chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, and 12 only (pp. 1-90, 134-219, and 248-277).

2) T. Edwards, Fashion in Focus. Concepts, Practices and Politics, Routledge, London and New York 2011, chapter 6 only (pp. 103-119).

3) G. Matteucci & S. Marino (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Fashion, Bloomsbury, London 2017, chapters 2 and 9 only (pp. 47-72 and pp. 185-190).

Teaching methods

Thematic introductions; classroom activities by students (as indicated in "Modalità di verifica dell'apprendimento / Assessment methods").

Assessment methods

1) Attending students must achieve the following goals:

Goal 1: Learn how to read and manage a text with a dense conceptual content. Each day students must read texts provided by the teacher concerning specific topics and discuss them. The active participation during the discussion will be taken into account in the evaluation process.

Goal 2: Learn how to link concepts and concrete examples. Each week there will be a workshop in which attending students will have to work in groups (3 people) and clarify two main concepts emerged during the previous lessons. During the class they must create a 4 slides ppt concerning them, along with visual examples, and a 250 words text explaining their choice. The ppt presentation and the text must be submitted at the end of the lesson.

2) Non-attending students must:

a) Write two papers (3000 words each) concerning:

a1) One chapter of Elizabeth Wilson’s volume Adorned in Dreams (see point 1 of the bibliography) chosen among the chapters 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 9. Not less than 1500 out of the 3000 words must concern the analysis of the chapter; the remaining part of the paper must address one or more (recent – concerning the last 15 years) case studies which can corroborate or prove wrong the analysis carried out in the chosen text.

a2) The comparison between either at least two chapters of Elizabeth Wilson’s volume Adorned in Dreams (see point 1 of the bibliography), or at least one chapter of Elizabeth Wilson’s volume Adorned in Dreams and Tim Edwards’ Fashion in Focus’ chapter 6 (see points 1 and 2 of the bibliography); the chapter analyzed in the first paper (see a1) cannot be used in this comparison. Not less than 1500 out of the 3000 words must concern the analysis of the chosen topic/s; the remaining part of the paper must address one or more (recent – concerning the last 15 years) case

N.B.: The papers have to be submitted at least 10 days before the date of the exam.

b) Take an oral examination (if required by the teacher after the delivery of the papers) concerning the texts indicated in the point 3 of the bibliography.

The assessment will focus particularly on the student’s skills in handling the material included in the exam bibliography and his/her ability to find and use information and examples to illustrate and correlate the various themes and problems addressed during the course.

The papers and the oral examination will ensure the achievement of the following objectives:

- factual knowledge of the subject;
- ability to summarise and analyse themes and concepts;
- familiarity with the terminology associated with the subject and his/her ability to use it effectively.

Top marks will be awarded to a student displaying an overall understanding of the topics discussed during the lectures, combined with a critical approach to the material and a confident and effective use of the appropriate terminology.

Average marks will be awarded to a student who has memorized the main points of the material and is able to summarise them satisfactorily and provide an effective critical commentary, while failing to display a complete command of the appropriate terminology.

A student will be deemed to have failed the exam if he/she displays significant errors in his/her understanding and failure to grasp the overall outlines of the subject, together with a poor command of the appropriate terminology.

Teaching tools

We will use power point slides concerning course's texts and topics.

Office hours

See the website of Gioia Laura Iannilli