hair exhibit
Volume 21,  Volume 21, Issue 1

An Exhibit on Hair: Books from the Collection of the DAAP Library

By Andrea Chemero

On display in the Robert A. Deshon and Karl J. Schlachter Library for Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) are selections from the library’s collection about hair. Come take a look and feel free to check out the books if your research needs demand it (please ask for staff assistance taking them out of case).

hair exhibit
Exhibit showing books about hair from the DAAP Library.

“The meaning of hair for individuals within any given society varies according to their particular social position, gender, race, and age, just as the meaning of hair more generally in a particular society may differ in others, in both place and time. Thus, the meaning of the long hair of a Tamil sᾱdhu priest in Coimbatore, India, differs from the long hair of a village bride in Anatolia, Turkey, with the former suggesting the priest’s celibate withdrawal from the sexual conventions of social life and the latter, the young bride’s introduction to them. For as anthropologist Carol Delaney observes, head, facial, and body hair—its cutting, growing, styling, and shaving—may have similar meanings in different societies, but the “specific cultural context” of these practices and related beliefs about hair are quite particular. It is indeed, often unassuming, small details concerning hair that are revealing of underlying social mores and suggest the ways that changes in women’s and men’s hair practices and hairstyles are related to and reflective of larger historical and social processes.”

-Elisha P. Renne vol. 6 of “A Cultural History of Hair: In the Modern Age.” Edited by Geraldine Biddle-Perry. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019.