The Zoot Suit in American Culture

  • March 20, 2013 · 7:00 PM
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This event is free but registration is required:



The University of Pennsylvania History Department presents:


Professor Kathy Peiss, University of Pennsylvania

The Zoot Suit in American Culture

Before there were hippies and hip-hop, there was the zoot suit, embraced by African American, Latino, working-class youth, and "swing kids" in the 1940s. The style sparked public controversy, however, when it appeared to trigger violence in wartime Los Angeles, an event quickly termed the 'zoot suit riot.' Why did this extreme urban look emerge, and why was it both compelling and scandalous? In this lecture, Kathy Peiss explores the zoot suit's history and meaning for the rise of American youth culture and the politics of style.

Kathy Peiss is the Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches modern U.S. cultural history and the history of gender and sexuality. Her publications include Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn-of-the-Century New York (1986), Hope in a Jar: The Making of America's Beauty Culture (1998), and Zoot Suit: The Enigmatic Career of an Extreme Style (2011).


Book signing to follow; books provided by the Penn Book Center.

For more information, please contact
Nari Baughman


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  • A former member
    A former member

    could not make the event due to work. maybe next time.

    March 21, 2013

  • AquarianNicole

    Sorry. I have to work late.

    March 20, 2013

  • Kristin

    We need someone to volunteer to greet the group.

    March 10, 2013

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