We’re very excited to announce that this year’s Humanities Festival will now run from Wednesday, Sept. 23rd to Saturday, Sept. 26th! The expanded schedule will allow us to add more events and performances to the schedule while reducing overlap, making it easier for festival goers to participate in all of the events that interest them.
In addition to the expanded schedule, we also have a new kickoff event planned for Wednesday evening from 7 to 9pm at the Buffalo History Museum. It will be a lecture and reception led by Prof. Patrick McDevitt of the UB History Department entitled “Do Clothes Make the Man?” The talk will explore the history of the man’s suit in Western fashion and the ways in which it continues to convey notions of wealth, masculine prestige, and power. Also featured will be a “pop-up” exhibit about men’s fashions from the Buffalo History Museum’s collections.
Prof. McDevitt will discuss the extent to which regional dress for men from around the world has largely been colonized by the dark, sober, Western suit. Without his Savile Row suit, James Bond would be just another government assassin. Even famously fashion-averse Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg puts on a suit to meet the President. The goal of the lecture is to ultimately interrogate our understanding of the role that the suit plays in shaping gender norms and denoting power in the contemporary world.
Patrick McDevitt is Associate Professor of History at the University at Buffalo. As a specialist in Irish, British, and imperial history, McDevitt explores the cultural meanings of sport, masculinity, religion, and fashion. His life’s ambition is to be on a first-name basis with an Italian cordwainer who makes his shoes.