Casarae L. Gibson (English) and Kadari Taylor-Watson (American Studies) won the Most Outstanding Award for their project titled, “Domesticating Blackness: Black Hair, Citizenship, and the Politics of Respectability at the first annual “Let’s Talk About Hair”: An Interdisciplinary Symposium. Gibson and Taylor-Watson’s multi-media presentation examined the political role hair played in defining how black women represented themselves as full-citizens and expressing femininity. One way to gain that status, they contend was to alter the hair texture in order to appeal to American civic and social institutions. In celebration of their win, the two graduate students were awarded $1000 and a certificate. Gibson and Taylor-Watson were most appreciative of receiving the award from the Black Cultural Center and the Office of Interdisciplinary Graduate Program. Their research was a personal reflection on the historical understanding of Black womanhood and identity.
The two scholar-activists are very happy that people recognized their scholarly contribution. Most importantly, they were appreciative of the many listeners from various ethnic, class, and gendered backgrounds who listen to their project openly, asking provocative questions, and overall being committed to learning about Black female identity and African American History.