Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Conor Harrison


The market for human hair, in the form of wigs and hair weaves, has grown exponentially, with African American women comprising a significant portion of consumers in the United States. Similar to other markets, the structure and patterns of hair consumption by African American women is the result of a variety of historical and geographical factors. In this thesis I investigate the role of African American women in the global human hair trade, and consider the implications of contemporary discourses around ‘good’ and ‘black’ hair in order to better understand trade in human hair. In particular, I use a combination of interviews with African American women – exploring what I term hair journeys – with observations in beauty salons and document analysis as a way of connecting the dynamic spaces of production and consumption in the human hair trade.

Included in

Geography Commons