Black Time-Space: The Chronopolitics of Black Hair Care

Authors: Dewitt King*, University of Minnesota - Minneapolis
Topics: Black Geographies, Geographic Theory, Cultural Geography
Keywords: Black time-space, Biopolitics, Time, Labor geographies
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 30
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper thinks through the relationship between Black spatialities and temporalities. Central to this paper is one question: How do Black people use space to navigate time? I theorize that Black people constantly move in, around, between, and underneath normative temporalities. Further, I contend that Black people inhabit what I call a Black time-space. To ground these assertions, I use the site of the Black barbershop/beauty shop to think through Black temporal modalities. Black time-spaces are propagated by Black geographies. In the case of Black hair care, this labor-intensive process falls outside of western tempos due to the illegibility of Black hair care practices. Black hair care is not taught in cosmetology programs in the US. I argue that Black people are continually jumping in and out of Black time-space as they are never fully in sync with western time. This is a function of Black timescapes which are anchored to Black cultural spaces. This paper seeks to contribute to the growing body of work that theorizes Black geographic thought by putting time geographies into conversation with Black geographies.

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