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Abstract

One might expect that the well-trodden ground of Oxford academic dress would yield nothing new or surprising, but this is far from the truth. With an institution as old as Oxford, many onlookers assume that because they know Oxford’s traditions that they know Oxford’s rules and so do not need to consult statute. An excellent example is the number of undergraduates these days who profess that one may not wear the square cap until graduation, whereas the most cursory glance at University regulations would show their belief false. Also, I would argue that the academic dress of Oxford is of particular importance as its gowns and hoods are used as templates for many other universities in the United Kingdom and further afield. Thus an understanding of the nature and origin of the current state of academic dress is essential. [Excerpt].

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