African American Culture Anthropology

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In order to explore the impactions of black and white standards of beauty (Eurocentric) that influence Black female hair styles in modern day United states, I will utilize concepts and theories from Anthropology and African American studies. According to Robert H. Lavenda, Anthropology is the study of human beings that is holistic, comparative, field-based, and evolutionary. Anthropologists gather a wide range of information from multiple cultures, compare cultural practices, incorporate other disciplines, and join in cultural practices to determine “who they [the people being studied] are and why they do what they do” (Lavenda 2012). Cultural anthropology specifically assumes that culture the individual and communities. Culture is defined…show more content…
Integrating anthropology and African American studies stresses the implications of black and white standards of beauty that influence black female hair styles in modern United States. Anthropology defines culture while African American studies places culture in the context of African Americans. Next, African American studies and anthropology seek to answer the question of self-agency. The African American studies theory of knowledge Production answers the question of self-agency by suggesting that while culture shapes the individual- individuals can choose to reshape themselves once given knowledge. However, cultural anthropology conflicts with self-agency suggesting culture shapes the individual entirely. The difference in view point regarding self-agency allows for a further examination of self- agency as it pertains to African American women, black beauty standards, white beauty standards, and hair. The anthropological concept acculturalization, cultural groups adapting to another culture and taking on traits of that culture, works with Afrocentrism to explain the influence of Eurocentric standards of beauty on African American female hair styles (via straightening practices and relaxing hair), while not invalidating the African American specific hairstyles that preserve black

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