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Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women

Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women

From Dr. Blain Robert's book, Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women: Race and Beauty in the Twentieth-Century South:
From the South's pageant queens to the importance of beauty parlors to African American communities, it is easy to see the ways beauty is enmeshed in southern culture. But as Blain Roberts shows in this incisive work, the pursuit of beauty in the South was linked to the tumultuous racial divides of the region, where the Jim Crow-era cosmetics industry came of age selling the idea of makeup that emphasized whiteness, and where, in the 1950s and 1960s, black-owned beauty shops served as crucial sites of resistance for civil rights activists. In these times of strained relations in the South, beauty became a signifier of power and affluence while it reinforced racial strife.

Roberts examines a range of beauty products, practices, and rituals--cosmetics, hairdressing, clothing, and beauty contests--in settings that range from tobacco farms of the Great Depression to 1950s and 1960s college campuses. In so doing, she uncovers the role of female beauty in the economic and cultural modernization of the South. By showing how battles over beauty came to a head during the civil rights movement, Roberts sheds new light on the tactics southerners used to resist and achieve desegregation.

Presenter Dr. Blain Roberts
Location La Jeunesse, Holbrook Student Union
Dates Monday, April 14th
Time 3:00 - 4:00 PM
Price $45 until January 20th
$55 after January 20th
Cost covers the entire Spring 2014 SAGE series

Instructor Info:
Dr. Blain Roberts graduated from Princeton University. She then went on to get a Masters, and a Doctorate degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has been published many times in the New York Times, and on the History News Network.

In addition to the book she will be discussing, Dr. Roberts has written several other works such as: Struggling with Slavery in the Cradle of the Confederacy: Memory and the "Peculiar Institution", as well as contributing chapters and articles for other books. She is currently working co-writing a book with her colleague Ethan J. Kytle on the memory of slavery in Charleston, South Carolina, from the end of the Civil War to the present.