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 an extraordinary indicator of economic and social standing, political orientation, religious affiliation, marital status, and cultural leanings, among other things. The meanings of hair are deep, powerful, and so strongly embedded in cultural conditioning that they are usually understood unconsciously (and all the more strongly for that).
In untangling its myriad meanings, Scott Lowe reveals just how little we control our hair, no matter the style: each and every passer-by decides on its significance anew. From Hittites to hippies and Pentecostals to porn stars, Hair combs through a ubiquitous personal yet public object, a charged and carefully managed dead thing.
Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.