Imagine Otherwise: Jasmine Nichole Cobb on Haptic Blackness

Mar 8, 2023Podcast

The newest episode of Imagine Otherwise is up now!

In episode 150 of Imagine Otherwise, I interviews Black visual studies scholar Jasmine Nichole Cobb about haptic blackness and the cultural politics of Black hair in US visual culture.

Jasmine is a professor of African and African American studies and of art, art history, and visual studies at Duke University. Her recent book New Growth: The Art and Texture of Black Hair traces the history of Black hair in visual culture across documentary films, portrait photography, advertising, sculpture, and television.

In the episode, Jasmine shares how haptics—or the mixing of touch and vision—has been central to how blackness has been lived, represented, and imagined across historical periods.

Jasmine and I also discuss why the 1990s and early 2000s were such a rich period for independent documentaries about Black women’s hair in particular and how more recent series like The Hair Tales and Hair Love adapt this genealogy to our contemporary moment.

Finally, we close out the episode with Jasmine’s vision for a haptic Black futurity centering Black embodiment and freedom.

You can catch the episode on your favorite podcast player or the Ideas on Fire website here: Jasmine Nichole Cobb on Haptic Blackness.

You might be interested in