The AFA is proud to award the 2018 Sylvia Forman Prize (Undergraduate) to Allegra Wyatt, for her paper, “Curls, Kinks and Colonization: The Decolonization of Afrodescendant Women’s Bodies in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic,” advisors Olga Gonzaléz and Arjun Guneratne (Macalester College).

Wyatt’s paper documents the experiences of Afrodescendant women in the Dominican Republic who choose to wear their hair naturally curly, despite the norm to straighten it. Wyatt argues that Afrodescendant Dominican women are decolonizing racial and gendered discourses of the Afrodescendant body through their pursuit of beauty, blackness, health and self-definition. She draws on Ana Irma Rivera Lassén’s allegory of the spiderweb to suggest that her informants are the spiders of their webs, weaving the discourses of the Afrodescendant female body into a web in which they are free to move in/through their multiple identities and find empowerment.

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