Dr Prudence Black

Dr Prudence Black completed her PhD in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney in 2009. The research formed the basis for the award-winning book The Flight Attendant’s Shoe (NewSouth Books 2011) which is a design and cultural history that uses the flight attendants’ uniforms to chart the links between the Australian fashion and textile industry and versions of Australian nationalism, militarism, cosmopolitanism, and the corporate world.

In 2012 Prudence was awarded an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award for, 'A Modern Profession: The Australian Flight Hostess 1936 to 1984' and Smile, Particularly in Bad Weather: The Era of the Australian Airline Hostess (University of Western Australia Press 2017) is a result of this project.

Prudence has taught courses in the areas of cultural studies, fashion, industrial design, design history and theory at the American University of Paris, the University of Sydney, the University of Technology, Sydney and the University of New South Wales. As well as her academic roles she has worked at the Powerhouse Museum and the Australian Museum as an assistant curator and researcher for exhibitions about Australian popular culture, fashion, design and Indigenous culture.

She has published mainly in the areas of aviation, design, modernism, fashion and popular culture. Current research projects include a study of occupational dress for disadvantaged and incarcerated women re-entering the workforce, intimacy and affect in home dressmaking, the Australian fashion industry in the 1960s and the history of the marketing and promotion of wool in Australia.

She is a member of the Gender and Modernity Research Group, the Australian Fashion Studies Network, the Global Aviation Research Network and the Hawke EU Centre: Aeromobilities Network, University of South Australia.

She has had consultancies with Pacific Brands, Knitters' Guild NSW, Centre for Olympic Studies, University of NSW, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Museum Business Services and Global Campus Management.

Select Publications

Black, P. (2017) Smile, Particularly in Bad Weather: The Era of the Australian Airline Hostess, Perth: University of Western Australia Press.

Black, P. (2011) The Flight Attendant’s Shoe, Sydney: New South Press.

Edited Journals
Co-editor with Rosie Findlay, 'Dressing the Body', Cultural Studies Review, 2016, 22 (1) .

Co-editor with Catherine Driscoll, ‘Materialities’, Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, December 2014, 28 (2).

Co-editor with Melissa Hardy, ‘On Mad Men’, Cultural Studies Review, September 2012, 18 (2).

New Beginnings: Tackling the Problem of Lookism and the Role of Dress for Success, Co-author with Diane van den Broek. Launched by Hon Justice Elizabeth Fullerton, Sydney 8 August 2013.

Refereed Journal Articles
'Looking the Part: Embodiment, Identity and Organizational Dress’, Co-author with Diane van den Broek, Organizational Management (under revision 2017).

'Editorial Introduction to Dressing the Body', Co-author with Rosie Findlay, Cultural Studies Review, 2016, 22 (1): 4-9.

'The Economy of Persistence: Mario the Tailor', Cultural Studies Review, 2016, 22 (1): 10-31.

‘Lines of Flight: The Female Flight Attendant Uniform’, Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body and Culture (Russian Version), 2014, 33: 33-58.

‘Tracksuit or Business Suit: What Should a Woman Wear Coming Out of Prison’, Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, Co-author with Diane van den Broek, December 2014, 28 (2):787-796.

'Stained Evidence: Blood, Semen and Matter on the Clothing of Kennedy, Lewinsky and Margiela’, Co-author with Peta Shera, Australian Feminist Law Journal, 2014, 40 (1): 135- 146.

‘What Lies Beneath? Thoughts on Men’s Underpants’, Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion, Co-author with Michael Carter, Karen de Perthuis and Alison Gill, 2014, 1 (2): 133-145.

‘Editorial introduction to Materialities: Economics, Empiricism and Things, Inter Asia Cultural Studies 14 (3), Co-author with Fiona Allon, Catherine Driscoll, Elspeth Probyn, Kane Race and Guy Redden, 2013: 427-431.

“It’s Just What You Did”: Mothers, Daughters and Sewing in the 1960s’, Co-author with Jan Idle, Journal of Clothing Cultures, 2013, 1 (1): 23-44.

‘Designed to Death: Tom Ford’s A Single Man’, Film, Fashion and Consumption, 2013, 2 (1): 105-114.

‘Lines of Flight: The Female Flight Attendant Uniform’, Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body and Culture, 2013, 17 (2): 179-196.

‘Don, Betty and Jackie Kennedy: On Mad Men and Periodisation’, Co-author with Catherine Driscoll, Cultural Studies Review, 2012, 18 (2): 188-206.

‘Editorial Introduction: On Mad Men’, Co-author with Melissa J. Hardie, Cultural Studies Review, 2012, 18 (2): 147-150.

‘Strapped to the Drainpipe: Mrs Peel and the Vinyl Catsuit ‘, Co-author with Catherine Driscoll, The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture, 2011, 1/1: 67-76.

‘Fashion Takes Flight: Amy Johnson, Schiaparelli and Australian Modernism’, Hecate, 2009, 35:1/2: 57-76.

‘Consuming Jackie: Jacqueline Kennedy and the Cultural Politics of Sixties Fashion’, Form/Work Journal, 2000, (4): 67-80.

Book Chapters
'Stained Evidence: Blood, Semen and Matter on the Clothing of Kennedy, Lewinsky and Margiela' in Evidence and the Archive, Co-author with Peta Shera, K. Biber and T. Luker (eds.), London: Taylor and Francis (forthcoming 2017).

'The Speed of Decolonisation: Travel, Modernisation and the 1955 Bandung Conference’, in Postcolonial Justice, The Netherlands: Brill, 2017.

'On Boredom: Hometown’ in Cultural Sustainability in Rural Communities: Rethinking Australia Country Towns, Catherine Driscoll, Kate Darian Smith and David G. Nicholls (eds.), Franham: Ashgate, 2017.

‘Post-war Hollywood 1947-1967’ in Costume, Makeup and Hair, Co-author with Karen de Perthuis, Adrienne L. McLean (ed.) New Jersey: Rutgers, 2016.

‘The Discipline of Appearance: Military Style and Australian Flight Hostess Uniforms 1930-1964’, in Fashion and War in Popular Culture, Denise Rall (ed.) Bristol, UK: Intellect Books, 2014.

‘Antipodean Modernisms’ in The Oxford Handbook of Modernisms, Co-author with S. Muecke, P. Brooker (et al) (eds.), Melbourne & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Encyclopedia Entries
‘Mad Men’ in The American Middle Class: An Economic Encyclopedia of Progress and Poverty, Robert S. Rycroft (ed.) Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood (forthcoming 2017).

‘The Australian Wool Industry’ in Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Co-author with Anne Farren, J. Eicher (et al) (eds.), London: Berg, 2010.

‘Fashion’ in Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women: Global Women’s Issues and Knowledge, C. Kramarae & D. Spender (eds.), London: Routledge, 2000.


‘Knitting for Victory’, The Conversation, 7 August 2014.

‘Goodbye Australiana, Hello World: The New Qantas Uniform’, The Conversation, 12 December 2013.

‘Romance Reborn: Can Glamour Reboot Australia’s Image?’, The Conversation, 27 October 2013.

Plenary and Invited Addresses and Conference Activity

Plenary and Invited Addresses
'Harriet Wran's Jacket', Material in Formation: New Research on Dress, University of Sydney, August 2016.

'A Cultural Poetics of Life in the Sky', Life in the Sky: Comparing EU and Australasian Perspectives on Aeromobilities and Global Airports, Hawke EU Centre Conference, 24-25 May 2016.

'"A Batch of Old Boilers": The Airline Hostesses' Association and the Media', Labour and Media Workshop, Macquarie University, 18-19 February 2016.

'The Economy of Persistence: Mario the Tailor', Experimental Histories Seminar, University of Technology, Sydney, October 2015.

'The Spin on Wool', Marketing History Panel, History on Monday Seminar, School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, the University of Sydney, 31 August 2015.

'“Men get Fit, Women get Fat”: Women, Weight and Wellbeing in Corrective Service Centres NSW' (with Diane van den Broek), Obesity and Addiction in Policy and History, Charles Perkins Centre, 11 & 12 June 2015.

'The Speed of Decolonisation: Travel, Modernisation and the 1955 Bandung Conference', Postcolonial Justice Symposium, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, May/June 2014.

'“I’m so Excited”: Flight Attendant Fashion, Films and Performance 1933 to 2013', First International Cabin Crew Congress, Estoril, Portugal, February 2014.

'“Be Kind to Old Horrie”: On Memory, Archives and Living History', Animate Archives Symposium, University of Technology, Sydney August 2013.

'The Business Suit: Organisational, but also Social Identity in a Risk Adverse World', Work and Organisational Studies, Work and Organisational Studies, University of Sydney, June 2013.

‘Public Administration and Fashion’, Institute of Public Administration of Australia International Congress, Melbourne, 20 September 2012.

‘Women of the World: The Flight Attendant and Cosmopolitanism’, Minor Cosmopolitanisms Summer School, Potsdam University, Potsdam, July 2012.

'"It’s Just What You Did": Mothers, Daughters and Sewing in the 1960s', Transforming Cultures Seminar Series (with Jan Idle), University of Technology, Sydney, 2011.

‘Something for Best, Something for Play: Mothers, daughters and sewing in the 1960s’, Biennial Australian Studies Conference (with Jan Idle), University of Sydney, 2010.

‘Is an Ecological Modernism Possible?’, the inaugural Australian Modernist Studies Network Symposium, University of Queensland, 2009.

Selected Conference Papers and Presentations
'Obsessing about Jean: The NASA Spacesuit', Crossroads in Cultural Studies, Sydney, December 2016.

'Absolutely Modern: Women in Flight in the 1930s', Australian Modernist Studies Network Conference, March 2016.

'"Dual Control": Popular Representations of Aviatrices and Airline Hostesses in the 1930s', Aviation Cultures Mk11: Technology, Culture and Collection, December 2015.

'"I Like Life in my Clothes": Thoughts on Wearing’, Women and Men in Clothes: On Memory and Wearing Seminar, February 2015.

‘Flight Plan: Multidisciplinarity and Aviation Studies’, Aviation Cultures: Science, Technology, People seminar, February 2015.

The Speed of Decolonisation: Travel, Modernisation and the 1955 Bandung Conference, ‘Transnational Modernisms’ Australia Modernist Studies Network Conference, University of Sydney, December 2014 and Postcolonial Justice International Conference Potsdam, 2014.

‘On Boredom: Hometown’, Transforming Cultures Research Group, University of Technology, Sydney, July 2014.

‘On Boredom: Hometown’, Crossroads in Cultural Studies, Tampere, Finland, July 2014.

‘Women in Flight: A Sense of Duty and Keeping the West connected’, Women in Motion, Australian Historical Association, Wollongong, July 2013.

‘Architectures of Space: The DC3 Flush Rivets and Flyscreens’, PopCAANZ, Brisbane, June 2013.

‘What a Woman Should Wear Coming out of Prison’ (with Diane van den Broek), Cultural Studies Association of Australia, University of Sydney, December 2012.

‘Marx, Hegel and Pan Am: Why History Won’t Save the Airlines’ Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference, Paris, July 2012.

‘Nevil Shute: The Comet, the Constellation and the Holden’, PopCAANZ, Auckland New Zealand, 2011.

‘Don, Betty and Jackie Kennedy: Mad Men and the 60s’ (with Catherine Driscoll), Mad Men Seminar, Gender and Modernity Group, University of Sydney, 2010.

‘Designed to Death: A Single Man’, Film and History Association of Australia and New Zealand, University of New South Wales, 2010.

Conference and Symposium Organisation

Aviation Cultures Mark 111: Airspaces, Mobilities seminar (with Peter Hobbins), the University of Sydney, 27-29 April 2017.

Crossroads in Cultural Studies International Conference, (Committee member, social), the University of Sydney, December 2016.

Aviation Cultures Mark 11: Technology, Culture and Collections seminar (with Peter Hobbins), the University of Sydney, 10-11 December 2015.

Aviation Cultures: Science, Technology and People seminar (with Peter Hobbins), the University of Sydney, 27 February 2015.

Women and Men in Clothes: On Wearing and Memory seminar (with Rosie Findlay), Sydney University, 20 February 2015.

Gender and Cultural Studies Department Seminar Series (with Lee Wallace).

‘Materialities: Economies, Empiricism and Things’, (Committee member), Cultural Studies Association of Australia Annual Conference, University Sydney, December 2012.

Public Talks

'Dreaming of a Modern Australia: The Story of Claudio Alcorso’, Classics @ Customs, Customs House Library, City of Sydney, 26 November 2014.

‘War and Fashion’ Centenary of WW1 Live Broadcast State Library of NSW, ABC 702 Richard Glover ‘Drive’, 5 August 2014.

Book Launch, Catherine Driscoll, The Australian Country Girl: History, Image, Experience, with Katrina Schlunke and Meaghan Morris, 19 September 2014.

Book Launch, Denise Rall (ed.) Fashion and War in Popular Culture, Lismore Regional Gallery, 10 April 2014.

‘Recruitment, Lookism and Aesthetic Labour’ with Diane van den Broek, Quay Appointments, 11 March 2014.

‘Lookism’ Optus Diversity Talk, Sydney, November 2013.

‘Success Factors for Women: Do Employers Look Past our Appearance?’ Dress for Success, Sydney, Mercure Sydney, 8 May 2013.

Associations and Professional Memberships

2016 - Hawke EU Centre: Aeromobilities Network, University of South Australia.

2014 - Global Aviation Research Network (GARN), Macquarie University.

2014 - Gender and Modernity Group, Sydney University.

2011 - Australian Fashion Studies Network.

Editorial and Broadcasting

2010 Editorial Board, Australasian Journal of Popular Culture.
2010 Editorial Advisory Board, Fashion, Film and Consumption.

'Aviation Design', ABC 702, Afternoons, 26 September 2016.

'Women in Greens', ABC 702, Self-Improvement Wednesday, 9 September 2015.

'The Flight Hostess Profession - the Glamour and the Danger in the Early Days of Aviation', ABC 702 Self-Improvement Wednesday, 3 June 2015.

'The Life and Times of Claudio Alcorso', ABC 702, Self-Improvement Wednesday, 27 August 2014.

'Bleat! How Australia Fell Off the Sheep’s Back’, co-producer with Catherine Freyne, Hindsight, ABC Radio National, 13 April 2014.

‘Pink Collar Workers in the Sky’, co-producer with Catherine Freyne, Hindsight, ABC Radio National, 29 November 2009.