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Hair Raising [Paperback]

Noliwe M. Rooks
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

July 1 1996
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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From Booklist

Rooks takes an interesting look at the social and political implications that hair has held for African American women. The six chapters discuss hair and its connection to black pride, race, advertising, gender, and women's magazines. She has used advertisements from different periods to trace representations of hair, which she then analyzes to show the political implications for women. She notes that discussions of hair in a political context have taken place in the mainstream press; however, the similarities and differences between the hair of women from the dominant culture and the hair of women of African American descent have never been fully explored. 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. Although Rooks' work is written in an academic style, the content is so compelling, readers will be intrigued by the quotes and footnotes rather than overwhelmed. Lillian Lewis --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About 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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5.0 out of 5 stars You'll refer to it over and over again Sept. 27 2000
By A Customer
I used this book in several college papers I wrote as an undergraduate student, a paper I published on the politics of hair among children of African decent, and I still read it today. Rooks talks about hair and African women in advertising, popular and political culture and she really explains the historical contexts of these hair issues. A great read for any student, and non-student who is interested in diging a little deeper in the hair issues sorrounding African women.
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