Unseen Political Spaces: Gender and Nationhood in the Berlin and Paris Fashion Press during the Franco-Prussian War

  • Ruxandra Looft Iowa State University


The fashion press, and women’s magazines in general, are presumed to be spaces of political neutrality preoccupied with the trivialities of domesticity. Yet it is these very spaces that more easily evade political scrutiny that are often most powerful in reaching a broad audience on matters of politics and social change. This article explores how two Berlin and Paris fashion periodicals participated in the international dialogue on gender, nation-building, patriotism, and consumerism during a critical time between these two nations, namely during the Franco-Prussian war (July 1870 - May1871). A look at images and texts published in the Berlin-based Der Bazar and the Paris-based La Mode Illustrée during this critical time period in their shared history reveals how the fashion press contributed in complex and meaningful ways to an evolving understanding of Self, nationhood, gender, and the public versus private in nineteenth-century Europe. 

Author Biography

Ruxandra Looft, Iowa State University
Ruxandra Looft received her PhD in German and Comparative Literature from Washington University in St. Louis in 2012. She is a Lecturer in German and International Studies at Iowa State University. Her research focuses on gender, national identity, media studies, and fashion.
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