The politics and poetics of African American women's identity performances: (Re) reading black hair in fictional /nonfictional writings and cultural productions
This study considers how some African American women use their cultural production (e.g., fictional/non-fictional writings, films, prose, plays, comics, art, and music) to show how hair is central to their identity (re)construction. This study is multidisciplinary in its approach, and uses paradigms from Afro-American studies, Black feminist thought, cultural studies, feminism, literary studies, and performance studies in order to investigate the ways that African American women (re)negotiate hair and identity politics in the world. An important aspect of this study is that for such women, hair is a part of their identity that has a performative dimension. Performance studies provides an alternative perspective that allows some scholars to contemplate African American women's hair politics and identities in a space of critical validation, self-reflexivity, and celebration. The selected works which I consider in this study utilize "natural" hair politics and identity performances that challenge derogatory images of African American women in an effort to present a more realistic and self-defined (re)presentations of African American women and, in turn, deemphasize hegemonic ideas about aesthetics and identity.
0325: Black studies
0453: Womens studies
0591: American literature