Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.
Hair, a primary marker of our mammalian nature, is a remarkably powerful indicator of economic status, social standing, political orientation, religious affiliation, marital state, and cultural leanings, among other things. This book offers a pithy yet wide-ranging overview of global hair customs. The rules of hair-head and body, visible and covered-are deep, powerful, and so deeply embedded in cultural conditioning that they are usually held unconsciously (and more strongly for that). From Hittites to hippies, from Pentecostals to porn stars, hair is a ubiquitous personal and vibrant object, a charged and carefully managed dead thing.
Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.