Document Type

Jack M. Weatherford Award for Best Capstone in Anthropology


Winner of the Jack M. Weatherford Award for Best Capstone in Anthropology, as well as the 2018 Sylvia Forman Prize for an undergraduate paper awarded by the Association of Feminist Anthropologists.


This paper documents the experiences of Afrodescendant women in the Dominican Republic who choose to wear their hair naturally curly, despite the norm to straighten it. I argue that Afrodescendant Dominican women are decolonizing racial and gendered discourses of the Afrodescendant body through their pursuit of beauty, blackness, health and self-definition. I draw on Ana Irma Rivera Lassén's allegory of the spiderweb to suggest that my informants are the spiders of their webs, weaving the discourses of the Afrodescendant female body into a web in which they are free to move in/through their multiple identities and find empowerment.

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