UCL Institute of the Americas


Sister Style: The Politics of Appearance for Black Women Political Elites

08 November 2021, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

Sister Style

An event part of the UCL Institute of the Americas series Race and Racism in the Americas

This event is free.

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UCL Institute of the Americas

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UCL Institute of the Americas is delighted to host our distinguished guest speaker, Professor Nadia Brown (Georgetown University), who will speak about her new book Sister Style: The Politics of Appearance for Black Women Political Elites (Oxford University Press, 2021), which she co-authored with Danielle Casarez Lemi. The talk will center on Black women’s bodies, specifically their hair texture and skin tone, to argue that phenotypic differences among Black women politicians directly impact how they experience political office and how Black voters evaluate them. It will provide an overview of the book’s interdisciplinary, multi-method, and blended epistemological approach of positivism and interpretivism to ask whether African American women’s appearances provide a more nuanced lens through which to study how their raced-gendered identities impact their candidacies and shape their political behavior.

Sister Style: The Politics of Appearance for Black Women Political Elites
In covering these issues, Professor Brown will engage the following questions: What do the politics of appearance for Black women mean for Black women politicians and for Black voters who evaluate them? What are the origins of the contemporary focus on Black women’s bodies in public life? How do Black women politicians themselves make sense of the politics of appearance? Is there a phenotypic profile into which most Black women politicians fit? What is the effect of variation in Black women’s phenotypes for candidate evaluations? And how do voters process the appearances of Black women candidates?


Professor Nadia E. Brown

Professor Nadia E. Brown
Nadia E. Brown (Ph.D., Rutgers University) is a Professor of Government, chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and affiliate in the African American Studies program at Georgetown University. She specializes in Black women’s politics and holds a graduate certificate in Women's and Gender Studies. Dr. Brown's research interests lie broadly in identity politics, legislative studies, and Black women's studies. While trained as a political scientist, her scholarship on intersectionality seeks to push beyond disciplinary constraints to think more holistically about the politics of identity. Read more about Professor Brown.


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