The Journal of the AGLSP


Jacqueline Sadashige

Jacqueline Sadashige


For Penn’s Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts, fashion matters

Many marketers, sociologists and economists subscribe to the theory of conspicuous consumption—the idea that wealthy consumers choose their clothing to showcase their affluence. According to Penn instructor Jacqueline Sadashige, our desire to speak through our clothes goes further: We choose specific articles of clothing to reflect our gender and identity, too. And often, fashion’s history shapes our decisions. In her online course Fashioning Gender, available through Penn’s Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts, Sadashige invites students to explore the current state of fashion in America. Students examine foundational fashion theory, the evolution of the clothing industry and the far-reaching implications of Americans’ love affair with clothes.

“What we wear is deeply embedded in global economics and the systems of class, race and gender,” says Sadashige. “Learning about who makes our clothing, or how the same item can have far-ranging consequences depending upon who is wearing it, can help us understand how our everyday decisions have consequences that extend to countless people around the world—and make more informed choices.”  

Clothing’s universal nature makes us all—to a certain extent—subject matter experts. As Sadashige says, “clothing is something that touches everyone.” And because Fashioning Gender is an online course, it’s easier for more students to share their unique perspectives. 

“Teaching online allows more people to enroll because students do not have to be physically present,” says Sadashige. “At the same time, we do meet and talk every week. We see each other’s faces, students can move into breakout rooms for discussion, and there is a chat option for sending messages if a student doesn’t feel comfortable speaking out loud. Online courses offer something far more appealing and immediate than I ever anticipated.”

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Available fall 2019, Fashioning Gender is an example of the advanced interdisciplinary coursework that characterizes the Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts at the University of Pennsylvania. Ideal for lifelong learners who previously completed a master’s degree in the liberal arts, Penn’s MPhil offers the independence of self-directed study with the expertise of world-class faculty and advising. 

Available on a full- or part-time basis, students select the courses that develop their interests and fit their schedules. Now offering interactive, multimedia online learning experiences that excite discussion and deep engagement, the MPhil program rewards exploration for individuals with a passion for academic pursuits.

Contact our program director, Dr. Christopher Pastore, to schedule an appointment to review your current research and explore your options for pursuing a Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts at Penn.

(215) 898-7326