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Tanisha C. Ford, “Dressing for the Revolution: The Politics of Style from Black Power to #BlackLivesMatter”

February 11, 2016 @ 6:00 pm

Tanisha C. Ford on “Dressing for the Revolution: The Politics of Style From Black Power to #BlackLivesMatter”

[reception to follow]

Professor Ford will deliver a lecture focused on her latest work, “Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul”

About the book: From the civil rights and Black Power era of the 1960s through antiapartheid activism in the 1980s and beyond, black women have used their clothing, hair, and style not simply as a fashion statement but as a powerful tool of resistance. Whether using stiletto heels as weapons to protect against police attacks or incorporating African-themed designs into everyday wear, these fashion-forward women celebrated their identities and pushed for equality.

In this thought-provoking book, Tanisha C. Ford explores how and why black women in places as far-flung as New York City, Atlanta, London, and Johannesburg incorporated style and beauty culture into their activism. Focusing on the emergence of the “soul style” movement—represented in clothing, jewelry, hairstyles, and more—Liberated Threads shows that black women’s fashion choices became galvanizing symbols of gender and political liberation. Drawing from an eclectic archive, Ford offers a new way of studying how black style and Soul Power moved beyond national boundaries, sparking a global fashion phenomenon. Following celebrities, models, college students, and everyday women as they moved through fashion boutiques, beauty salons, and record stores, Ford narrates the fascinating intertwining histories of Black Freedom and fashion.

About the author: Tanisha C. Ford is an assistant professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is the author of Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul (UNC Press, 2015). Ford has current and forthcoming publication in the Journal of Southern History, NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art, and The Black Scholar. Her research has been supported by institutions including the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Center for Black Music Research.Her public writing and cultural commentary have been featured in diverse media outlets and publications including The Root, the New Yorker, NPR: Code Switch, Fuse, News One, The Feminist Wire, and Feministing.

Co-sponsored by The Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality and The Seminary Co-op Bookstores.


February 11, 2016
6:00 pm


Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture


Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture
5733 S University Ave
Chicago, IL 60637 United States

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