As part of the IAS The Recovery of Beauty programme, CMH directors Jane Macnaughton and Corinne Saunders are very pleased to welcome Prof Ruth Holliday, Professor of Gender and Culture, University of Leeds, who will deliver the fifth lecture:

Prof Ruth Holliday

I Heart Fake Beauty

Monday 28 November 2011,
6.15 p.m

Lecture Room 201, Elvet Riverside,

University of Durham


This lecture questions our assumptions about what beauty is – or should be – in relation to both bodies and things. I argue that ‘fake’ beauty in both the form of ‘plastic’ bodies and ‘kitsch’ objects is positioned by a similar pejorative logic of ‘manufactured beauty’ – the former opposed to ‘natural’ beauty, the latter to art. Fake beauty is characterized not just as imitation but also as deception – as evil. But where do these ideas about beauty come from and what are their effects? Who are the winners and losers in this hierarchy of good and bad beauty?

Ruth Holliday is Professor of Gender and Culture at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Leeds. Her research interests are primarily located in contemporary cultural theories of gender, sexuality, class, the body and popular culture. In particular, she is interested in the social and cultural uses of aesthetics and currently applies these themes to two substantive areas – ‘elective’ cosmetic surgery and material culture (especially kitsch).

We very much hope that you are able to join us for this and forthcoming events in The Recovery of Beauty Lecture Series.


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