EVENT Aug 09
ABSTRACT Apr 12
Abstract days left 0
Viewed 540 times

TRAUMA, TRESSES, & TRUTH: A Virtual Conference Interrogating Black Women’s Natural Hair

Virtual
Organization: TRAUMA, TRESSES, & TRUTH
Categories: Women's Studies, African-American
Event Date: 2024-08-09 to 2024-08-11 Abstract Due: 2024-04-12

Black women view their hair as a problem. To enjoy black hair, such negative thinking has to be unlearned.   --bell hooks

Don’t remove the kinks from your hair. Remove them from your brain.  --Marcus Garvey

It takes care and attention and time to handle natural hair. Something we have lost from our African culture are the rituals of health and beauty and taking time to anoint ourselves. And the first way we lost it was in our hair.   --Hariette Cole, in Hair Story

 

TRAUMA, TRESSES, & TRUTH is a three-day virtual conference examining the politics, policing, and perception of African American and Afro Latina women’s natural hair in American society. You may see the program from the inaugural 2021 conference at https://trauma-tresses-truth-untangling-our-hair-thro.heysummit.com and the 2023 conference at https://trauma-tresses-truth-conference-interrogating.heysummit.com

This virtual conference gathers papers, presentations, and articles that contribute to a conversation about this fact: For four hundred years, Black natural hair has been the target of erasure efforts, demarginalizing us as African Americans, Afro Latinas, and as women. The various institutional modalities of policing Black women’s (and men’s) hair is a form of racist politics. This conference aims to situate the fact that, despite structural denials to the contrary, our natural hair remains a heretical war zone. Policing of both Black bodies and our natural hair is a form of structural oppression. In her essay “Is Your Hair Still Political?” Audre Lorde explains how an immigration officer’s objections to her dreadlocks nearly cost her a vacation in the British Virgin Islands. Natural hair, whether in the form of braids, afros, dreadlocks, or other natural styles, has always been political.  Why is this still the case? Why have we not moved beyond that perennial racist emblem? And why are women so disproportionately affected?  Why does our hair become most palatable when it capitulates—and has been subjugated— to resemble Caucasian features as closely as possible? Who in our society gets to author the prevailing constitution of professional appearance? How do we, as Black women (and Black men as well) encourage course correction and alter the prism through which our hair is interrogated?

Accepted panelists will receive a $170 honorarium, with a maximum of two panels, or one panel and one workshop. Workshop leaders will receive honoraria of $250. Panels are 75 minutes long; workshops are two hours long, led by a single facilitator. Panelists must attend all three conference days. Be sure to check your calendar before you submit!

We are accepting individual submissions to populate the following 2024 panels:

PERCEPTIONS OF PROFESSIONALISM: BLACK HAIR IN THE WORKPLACE

Too often, employment and social capital are tethered to our hair’s rank on society’s beauty scale. For millennia, people in positions of power have withheld opportunities from us because they have denigrated our hair and its protective styles. Note that many corporate “dress codes” operate as mechanisms of oppression and are slanted to preserve White spaces. Research shows that too many hiring professionals view our natural hair as unprofessional, which affects both hiring and promotion practices in the workplace. This panel discusses the ways in which we might encourage acceptance for natural hair as a conventional, accepted, ordinary part of professional workplace presentation.

 

CAN I TOUCH IT? THE FIXATION AND DEMONIZATION OF BLACK WOMEN’S HAIR

British activist Dr. Mena Fombo is the founder of the "No, You Cannot Touch My Hair" campaign, showing how unwanted hair touching is an issue that has been and still is rooted in racism not only in America, but around the globe. Uninvited hair touching is a violation of personal space and demonstrates a casual disregard for our physical autonomy. America's complicated and problematic relationship with Black women's natural hair is part and parcel of the unwanted pawing problem. How might we subvert and recast society’s gaze on our hair—regardless of texture or style—as fundamentally worthy of respect and dignity?

 

MINDFULNESS AND MEDITATION

Indulge in a transformative workshop dedicated to the powerful practice of radical self-care. Embark on a journey of self-discovery, healing, and empowerment as you explore the profound impact of mindfulness on nourishing the mind, body, and soul through a series of exercises and techniques. Designed to cultivate deep relaxation, inner balance, and holistic well-being, this workshop will inspire you to claim your personal power, and cultivate a deep sense of self-love and acceptance. If you feel you need a reflective pause during the conference, attend this session to ground and reset.

 

HOW DID WE GET HERE? UNDERSTANDING CROWN ACT LEGISLATION

For Black women, the pressure to conform to Eurocentric ideals of hair styling and textures remains a persistent onus in corporate America, in schools, and in academia. The CROWN Coalition--founded by Dove, Color of Change, the National Urban League, and the Western Center for Law & Poverty—is at the vanguard of influencing municipal and state governments across the country to sign protective hair bias legislation into law. Here’s what you should know about the protections this hair bias law offers.

 

AFRO-LATINX PERSPECTIVES: RE-FRAMING THE CONVERSATION AROUND PELO MALO

Anti-Blackness has been ingrained in most Latin American cultures that have a history of European colonization. The Afro-Latinx community has faced erasure in both the U.S. and other countries, and many Latinas don’t acknowledge their Afro roots. This panel presents a critical examination of the relationship among race, notions of Afrolatina beauty, cultural relevance, and hair texture. The process of attaining the hegemonic ideology of pelo bueno—a European and Asian texture and style of hair—is a violent journey. And as it is, perceptions of Blackness within the Latinx community are often fraught and complicated. This panel discussion revolves around the myriad ways in which Latinas are rooted in racialized and racializing notions of beauty.

 

NATURAL HAIR AND THE CULTURAL VIOLENCE OF IDENTITY ERASURE

Natural hair figures prominently in the politics of visibility, inclusion, and exclusion within Black anti-racist aesthetics. A legacy of slavery has yielded racially motivated beauty standards that work against Black and Afro-Latina females. How does the physical and cultural violence perpetuated in the quest for “beautiful” hair consequently foment a generational cycle of identity erasure? How do we teach White society that there can never be a definitive reading of Black beauty?

 

MORE THAN A HAIRSTYLE: THE PENALIZATION OF BLACK HAIR IN SCHOOLS

Did you know that Black students, both girls and boys, are nearly six times as likely to be dismissed or kicked out of school because of their natural hair? Grade, middle, and high schools continue to criminalize our children for wearing braids, knots, Afros, or locs in the classroom. While school officials are fond of stating that particular hairstyles violate academic dress codes, the dress codes themselves disproportionately affect Black, Brown, and multiracial children. This panel discusses how schools impinge on our students’ civil liberties and cultural identity in ways that amount to punitive policing and lead to unwarranted retributive measures.

 

RESISTANCE AND EMPOWERMENT: PREVAILING AGAINST HEGEMONIC SOCIAL ATTITUDES

As a singular site of racialization, our hair is freighted with socio-political import. Owing to patriarchal discourses that have constructed adverse notions that deem natural hair unprofessional and distracting, the catalog of overt and subtextual signifiers attending our hair is both protracted and parochial. How can Black women surmount these complex, dismissive, and alienating institutional power patterns without jeopardizing their professional stature?

 

MY HAIR IS NOT “MALO”: HAIR AND RACE IN AFROLATINA CULTURE

In Latinx culture, the terms pelo bueno and pelo malo refer to much more than hair texture and perceived manageability. Owing to stigmas and stereotypes, these terms can also connote a perception about social status and capital, or the lack thereof. It can be devastating when Latinas tear one another down based on hair type. In 2016, the Pew Research Center’s surveys found that 1 out of every 4 Latinos in the United States identify as Afro Latinx. While there’s been a perceptible rise in Black consciousness amongst the Latinx community, textured hair is still a fraught issue within Afro Latina families and in society at large. This panel examines the impacts of colorism and texturism within the Latina community.

 

FAMILY MATTERS: HAIR DISCRIMINATION, CONFLICT, AND IDENTITY IMPLICATIONS

For some of us, hair and the family circle surfaces memories of mother/child bonding and amity. But other women grew up receiving messages that—within their own households--their natural hair was unacceptable, burdensome, and shameful and needed to be hidden or “fixed.” This panel delves into the core of family relationships, delineating the bonds, fissures, and unanswered questions that crystallize in direct consequence to the regard relatives hold for their own and other family members’ natural hair.

 

INTERROGATING BLACK WOMEN’S NATURAL HAIR: ESSAYS, EXCERPTS, AND ARTICLES

Come hear panelists share their writing about Black women’s natural hair from a variety of variety of literary and academic perspectives, contexts, and genres.

We are accepting submissions for the following 2024 two-hour workshops (meditation sessions are shorter):

  • Mental Health and Racism (Note: Candidates must hold a PsyD, MFT, or MD degree)
  • Maintaining Natural Hair Health, Inside and Out (Note: Candidates must hold an RD, a BS in Nutrition, a degree in dietetics, or be certified in Trichology, Esthetics, or Cosmetology)
  • Meditation & Mindfulness (Note: Candidates must be AIHCP-certified—no exceptions)
  • Singing Bowl Meditation Session (30 minutes)
  • Creative Styling: Headscarves, Turbans, and Wraps

 

APPLYING FOR WORKSHOP PROPOSALS

Submit a two-page outline of your workshop, including a schedule breakdown of how you will use your two hours. Also submit the items under "Individual Panelist Submissions" below.

APPLYING FOR INDIVIDUAL PANELIST SUBMISSIONS

Please send your submission as one single paginated Word document or a Google Doc. If sending as a Google Doc, you must grant reading and editing access to AuthorLyzetteWanzer@LyzetteWanzerMFA.com. Compile your submission in this sequence:

1)    A cover page containing:

a.    your full name, submission type: presentation (with slides), essay, paper, or article, whether you have an institutional affiliation or are an independent scholar, journalist, or author.

b.   a one-sentence summary of how your submission relates to the conference theme.

c.    a list of the last three national conferences or conventions at which you’ve presented your work (does not need to be related to the natural hair topic).

d.   Name up to two panels from the above list for which you feel your work is a fit.

2)    A 200-word abstract (not including bibliography)

3)    a CV or resume containing your LinkedIn profile, faculty profile, business website, or author website included in the heading

4)    a one-page bio

Send your submission, with "Trauma, Tresses, & Truth 2024" in the subject line,  to NaturalHairConference@Gmail.com by April 12, 2024. Accepted submissions will receive notification by May 18, 2024. Accepted panelists and presenters will receive a contract outlining their responsibilities and confirming their payment terms. Payments are issued via PayPal or Zelle, or by direct deposit to a Bank of America or Wells Fargo account within 30 days after the conference’s close. IMPORTANT: Please do not apply if you are unable to accept PayPal, Zelle, Bank of America, or Wells Fargo electronic payments.

Submissions failing to adhere to the above guidelines, missing required information, or arriving after the deadline will not be read or acknowledged.

It is very important that the email address you provide be one that you check regularly, as we will communicate exclusively by email. 

https://shuffle.do/projects/2024-trauma-tresses-truth-a-virtual-conference-interrogating-black-women-s-natural-hair

NaturalHairConference@gmail.com

Lyzette Wanzer MFA