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Grant number like: FT-265153-19

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Wanjiru Mbure
Stonehill College (North Easton, MA 02357-7800)
The Tenacious Defenders, Offenders, and Inventors of African Beauty 1951-1971

Research leading to a book on The Drum, a pan-African magazine, and the definition and promotion of the idea of feminine beauty in Africa.

How did modern cosmetics triumph over enduring diverse perceptions and practices of beauty in Africa? How did new nations and their citizens make sense of new imaginations of beauty? How did they attempt to regulate this new product? Who were the main actors and what key events shaped the historical trajectory of African beauty? The answers to these questions offer a valuable historical context to understand contemporary challenges regarding easy access to injurious cosmetics, the use of beauty in pursuit of decolonization, and the impact of globalization on localized experiences of beauty. Set in South Africa, Kenya, and the United States, this project uses beauty to investigate how lawmakers, advertisers, media, and citizens created, maintained, and resisted notions of African beauty. The book offers new insights into the drama and passion of a vibrant era of African history and the people who gave us varying answers to the enduring question of the nature of beauty.

Project fields:
African History; Communications; Communications; Media Studies

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/14/2019 – 8/13/2019