For the academically-inclined or the subculturally-curious, two books that will spark your interest.
Vintage Tomorrows by James Carrott and Brian David Johnson first pinged on my radar with their documentary sponsored by Intel as part of the Tomorrow Project, which explores how real science and science fiction are changing our future. This companion book to the film is told as an accessible first-hand account about their dive into the steampunk community. Vintage Tomorrows address what steampunk means for today’s technological future, and features dozens of interviews from academics, artists, writers, and makers from the community. Right now, you can download an early release copy from their publisher’s website, but you can also get your hands on the published, hard copy final edition as part of this giveaway!
Still aren’t convinced about your need to own this book? Well, try taking a gander at the description and the documentary trailer below.
Can you imagine what today’s technology would have looked like in the Victorian Era? That’s the world Steampunk envisions: a mad-inventor collection of 21st Century-inspired contraptions powered by stream and driven by gears. It’s more than just a whimsical idea. In the past few years, the Steampunk genre has captivated makers, hackers, artists, designers, writers, and others throughout the world.
In this fascinating book, futurist Brian David Johnson and cultural historian James Carrott offer insights into what Steampunk’s alternative history says about our own world and its technological future. Interviews with experts such as William Gibson, Cory Doctorow, Bruce Sterling, James Gleick, and Margaret Atwood explore how this vision of stylish craftsmen making fantastic and beautiful hand-tooled gadgets has become a cultural movement—and perhaps an important countercultural moment.
Steampunk is everywhere—as gadget prototypes at Maker Faire, novels and comic books, paintings and photography, sculptures, fashion design, and music. Discover how this elaborate view of a future that never existed can help us look forward.
We also have one free copy of Fashion Talks: Undressing the Power of Style, edited by Shira Tarrant and Marjorie Jolles . This featured my academic debut with Jaymee Goh in our article about the meaning of steampunk fashion, but also contains TONS of great articles about the politics of fashion and its place in pop culture today.
Essays on the politics of everyday style.
Fashion Talks is a vibrant look at the politics of everyday style. Shira Tarrant and Marjorie Jolles bring together essays that cover topics such as lifestyle Lolitas, Hollywood baby bumps, haute couture hijab, gender fluidity, steampunk, and stripper shoes, and engage readers with accessible and thoughtful analyses of real-world issues. This collection explores whether style can shift the limiting boundaries of race, class, gender, and sexuality, while avoiding the traps with which it attempts to rein us in. Fashion Talks will appeal to cultural critics, industry insiders, mainstream readers, and academic experts who are curious about the role fashion plays in the struggles over identity, power, and the status quo.
“Think of this book as your contemporary style guide. With wit and verve, these fine thinkers redress fashion as a force both frivolous and profound, offering the kind of intelligent, entertaining analysis that transcends trendiness. Topics vary widely—think: baby bumps, little-girl looks, steampunk, colonial chic, feminism, fur, emirati couture. The result is an elegant mix-and-match that brings thoughtful consideration to everyday issues (like getting dressed!), while deepening understanding of our sartorial worlds.” — Deborah Siegel, author of Sisterhood, Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrls Gone Wild
“From indie brides to Islamic abayas to emo-hipster style, Fashion Talks speaks volumes about the sophistication of contemporary feminist scholarship. Its essays bring together a wide range of different, occasionally divergent perspectives on how style has been applied, critiqued, analyzed, and of course donned for political ends, in ways that encourage readers to truly reconsider the popular slogan ‘This is what a feminist looks like.’ This book is an invaluable source of new scholarship on the subject that will have tremendous appeal to those interested in gender studies, popular culture, and their sartorial expression.” — Maria Elena Buszek, author of Pin-Up Grrrls: Feminism, Sexuality, Popular Culture
Shira Tarrant is Associate Professor in the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department at California State University, Long Beach. She is the author of Men and Feminism and When Sex Became Gender and the editor of Men Speak Out: Views on Gender, Sex, and Power. Marjorie Jolles is Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Roosevelt University.
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