How is ritualized shaving practiced in religions as diverse as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Christianity? What can our natural hair tell us about our ancestors, and what climates and environments they encountered? How can we better understand the election of Donald Trump and the defeat of Hillary Rodham Clinton by looking at their hair?
This discussion-based seminar focuses on hair as our object of inquiry. Moving through such disciplines as art history, literature, genetics, religion, social psychology and popular culture studies, we will examine how hair is simultaneously so powerful that it can serve as a beacon to other people from a sub-culture, so representative that we must wrestle with our identity while we straighten, tease, perm, curl, cut and style it, and so basic that we can all relate to »bad hair days«.
This course approaches hair in a manner that is actively intersectional. Through an interdisciplinary methodology, this course aims for an inquiry that is expansive, generous, and non-exhaustive. Because hair is heavily coded in gender and race terms, one of our objectives is to deconstruct this and look at the subsequent performances of identity through an actively feminist and anti-racist lens.
Lectures, readings and discussions will be in English.