Personal, Political And Professional: Everyone Has A Hair Story

Published: Monday, January 6, 2020 - 11:35am
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Kaely Monahan/KJZZ
Neal Lester.

Hair is ASU English professor Neal Lester’s domain. He’s studied it, written about it, and he recently sat down with The Show to talk more about why hair means a lot more than we think.

His research focuses mainly on African Americans and hair, but Lester argues you could fill that blank in with just about any other group.

"For example, American Indians have certain traditions associated with not cutting hair," Lester said. "There are Bible stories that have to do with cutting hair and covering hair in terms of gender.

"This notion of hair is something that I've looked at because it's been so mainstream not just in terms of people's preferences but the ways in which hair is politicized. And there are policies around hair, from public schools to military. So there are ways in which hair has always been bigger than we've imagined it when we'd say things like, 'Oh, I'm having a bad hair day.'"

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