Hair Raising: Beauty, Culture, and African American Women / Edition 1

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A Choice Outstanding Book Award winner

Rooks's excellent book is a welcom entry in the feminist debates about American 'beauty culture.' . . . Readable, accessible, and helpfully illustrated."--Choice

"Rooks digs deep to describe how beauty and culture have politicized African American women and demonstrates that Western definitions of beauty are often not endorsed by African American women. Compelling."--Booklist

"Hair Raising is insightful, engaging, and imaginative, and even musical. Rooks harmonizes her voice as a scholar analyzing hair with her voice as a black woman talking politics with other black women, in salons and parlors, to the rhythms of combing, brushing, braiding, and straightening. . . . This is a must-read!"--Gloria Wade-Gayles, Professor of English and Women's studies, Spelman College

"Rooks deconstructs dominant cultural notions of femininity and/or beauty with humor, dignity, and a defiant sassiness. Read this book!"--Joanne M. Braxton, Frances and Edwin L. Cummings Professor of American Studies and English, The College of William and Mary

We all know there is a politics of skin color, but is there a politics of hair? In this book, Noliwe Rooks explores the history and politics of hair and beauty culture in African American communities from the nineteenth century to the 1990s. She discusses the ways in which African American women have located themselves in their own families, communities, and national culture through beauty advertisements, treatments, and styles. Bringing the story into today's beauty shop, listening to other women talk about braids, Afros, straighteners, and what they mean today to grandmothers, mothers, sisters, friends, and boyfriends, she also talks about her own family and has fun along the way. Hair Raising is that rare sort of book that manages both to entertain and to illuminate its subject.

Noliwe M. Rooks teaches in the history and African American studies departments at Princeton University. She was the associate editor of Paris Connections: African American Artists in Paris and a winner of an American Book Award.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813523125
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 806,094
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Noliwe M. Rooks is an assistant professor of English and the coordinator of African American Studies at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. She was the associate editor of Paris Connections: African American Artists in Paris, winner of a 1993 American Book Award.

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Table of Contents

1 Nappi by Nature: Afros, Hot Combs, and Black Pride 1
2 Beauty, Race, and Black Pride 23
3 Advertising Contradictions 51
4 Broadening Representational Boundaries 75
5 Gender, Hair, and African American Women's Magazines 97
6 In Search of Connections 115
Afterword 137
Notes 139
Selected Bibliography 149
Index 157
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