As a qualitative researcher, I incorporate intersectional and critical feminist frameworks into my own research, centering the experiences of women of color. My current research project incorporates two years of ethnographic data collection in a Las Vegas African hair braiding salon. I discuss labor, identity making in the African diaspora, work-family balance, and the racialized politics of appearance for Black women. I find that Black women's identity-making process is complex and perceptions of nationhood and Black womeness often impede the process. I analyze the techniques used in the salon, by braiders and find that the unique labor provided in the salon is artistic, therapeutic, and reciprocal. The child-friendly space also allowed me to analyze how Black women define and carry-out work-family balance through utilization of the hybrid space. Lastly, I discuss the political aspects of choosing natural hair styles for both customers and braiders. These findings provide a look inside the lived experiences of women of African diaspora and insight into some of the most significant parts of their identities.
Publications from this project: “Distance in Diaspora: Contested Blackness in Black Women’s Identity Making in Contemporary U.S.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography “Reclaiming Motherhood: How Black Mothers Do Mothering and Work-Family Balance.” In-Preparation. Course Offerings: Principles of Ethnography (Graduate Series 1) Ethnographic Fieldwork (Graduate Series 2)