Hair Pulling in the Art Classroom: A Phenomenology of Un/marked Bodies

  • Emily J. Hood


In this chapter, Emily Jean Hood discusses bodies of difference. Bodies that are gendered, raced, sexual, and able/disable that emerge from a vast array of contexts. Her writing is a phenomenological analysis of an experience she had as an instructor in a junior high art class. She reflects on a memory as a rupture in the everyday quickness of classroom interaction. The extension of another body toward hers in an unexpected way, the grasping of her hair as an object of curiosity, the lines that were crossed, and the invasion of proximity called her being into awareness. Hood’s hair, an object that is an extension of her being, suddenly becomes a point of difference. In this chapter, she digs further into this notion of bodies and difference in the art classroom. Using Linda Alcoff’s phenomenology of racial embodiment and Sara Ahmed’s notion of orientation, she discusses possible structures that facilitated hair pulling in her art classroom.


  1. Ahmed, S. (2006). Queer phenomenology. London, UK: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alcoff, L. (1999). Toward a phenomenology of racial embodiment. Radical Philosophy, 95, 15–26.Google Scholar

Related Further Reading

  1. Perez, K. (2014). A Mexican who looks like you: Reflections from outside the black/white binary. Text and Performance Quarterly, 34(4), 395–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Perry, M., & Medina, C. (2011). Embodiment and performance in pedagogy research: Investigating the possibility of the body in curriculum experience. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 27(3), 62–75.Google Scholar
  3. Rosado, S. D. (2003). No Nubian knots or nappy locks: Discussing the politics of hair among women of African descent in the diaspora. A report on research in progress. Transforming Anthropology, 11(2), 60–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily J. Hood
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Art Education and Art HistoryCollege of Visual Arts and Design, University of North TexasDentonUSA

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