Permanent Waves: The Making of the American Beauty Shop

Permanent Waves: The Making of the American Beauty Shop

Permanent Waves: The Making of the American Beauty Shop

Permanent Waves: The Making of the American Beauty Shop


The failure of the international community to prevent the 1994 Rwandan genocide has focused attention on the limitations of "humanitarian intervention" as a remedy for such tragic situations. But under what conditions should such intervention be carried out? What international laws apply? And under whose auspices should intervention be initiated?

The International Dimensions of Genocide in Rwanda explores these and other questions, seeking to determine what lessons may be learned from Rwanda for the future. Meticulously researched and drawing on the complete United Nations files on Rwanda, the volume offers a chronology of the events in Rwanda up until the April 1996 departure of the UN peacekeeping forces. Klinghoffer then examines the policies and actions of specific outside actors, as well as the deficiencies of international law and of United Nations procedures which hampered the effectiveness of the international response.

The definitive work on the Rwandan genocide, this book will have profound implications for future international responses to tragic situations in other troubled states.


My paternal grandmother lived most of her life in a small Missouri town located in the northwest corner of the state. As in many small towns, the beauty shop was central to the community and women’s lives because it offered a place to socialize and pass the time as well as the chance to catch up on local gossip. the beauty shop that I recall my grandmother visiting was in the back of a barber shop. I remember on my occasional visit, walking through the barber shop with my grandmother in hand and being very conscious that we were somehow transgressing male space. the barber shop was not so different from my grandfather’s harness repair shop in that it was filled with the same groups of men chewing tobacco and engaged in what seemed to me the same conversations about weather, politics, rodeos, and wrestling. Only the fixtures were different. the barber shop did not have a dirt floor or that pungent smell of leather, and a row of chairs stood in place of the more interesting display of western saddles.

Like these all-male hangouts in which my grandfather spent a good part of his time, the beauty shop was also a gender-specific place where my grandmother’s work, leisure, and community life blurred together. My grandmother, along with many of her smalltown friends, undoubtedly enjoyed their trips to the beauty shop, trips that were as much ritual as routine and often preceded special events that marked important moments in life. For my grandmother, social events, including everything from family reunions to visits from grandchildren, called for a special . . .

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