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Chelsea Johnson

Chelsea Johnson is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Southern California.

As primarily a sociologist of the body, Chelsea’s work theorizes the human body as a medium of culture, or the physical and symbolic form through which race, class, and gender hierarchies, social control, and social etiquette are played out. Her past work in sociology of sport and her present research on black beauty politics commonly center the body to examine the complexity, multiplicity, and particularity of black practices from an intersectional feminist perspective. Her overarching goal is to inform the development of antiracist and feminist political strategies , scholarship, and artwork that reflect the situated knowledges and needs of women of color.

Chelsea's dissertation, “Natural Hair Movements: Embodied Intersectional Resistance in a Globalizing Society” examines how women of African descent use consumer-based strategies to negotiate a politicized trend of wearing un- straightened kinky and curly hair with disparate expectations of state institutions, employers, family members, and romantic partners. This work has allowed her to conduct funded ethnography in Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Valencia, Madrid, Johannesburg and Cape Town. She has forthcoming publications in CRWN Magazine and Bloomsbury's A Cultural History of Hair.


  • –present
    PhD Candidate in Sociology, University of Southern California