Reader’s Advisory: Tattoos, Piercings, and Body Modification

Summer is here! The stress of finals is over and, depending on your summer plans, you probably have some free time. You could spend that time a million different ways, but if you’re interested in the subject of tattoos, piercings, or body modifications, this is the perfect time to do some research! Whether you’re considering a tattoo and need some inspiration or just looking to learn more about the subject of body modification, the UGL has you covered.

This reader’s advisory will highlight some of the books from the Undergraduate Library collection that have the potential to inspire and inform. Have some favorites that we may have missed? Let us know in the comments!

The History of Tattooing by Wilfrid Dyson Hambly

The History of Tattooing by Wilfrid Dyson Hambly

The History of Tattooing by Wilfrid Dyson Hambly

If you’re interested in the how tattoos have changed over time, The History of Tattooing is something to check out. Hambly, an anthropologist, writes about tattoos, as well as other forms of body marking, and their connection to religious beliefs, social purposes, and magical uses. In addition to discussing the use of tattoos for luck, protection from witchcraft, and survival of the soul, the book is heavily illustrated to showcase photos of tattoos through the ages.

Wear Your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos by Ed Hardy

Wear Your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos by Ed Hardy

Wear Your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos by Ed Hardy

You may know Ed Hardy from the unique designs featured on t-shirts and other apparel, but did you know that Hardy had a major role in the appreciation of tattooing as an art form? In Wear Your Dreams, Hardy recounts his experiences as a tattoo enthusiast and skilled tattoo artist. The book touches on the history of tattoo art, Hardy’s experience in training to become a tattoo artist, as well as a display of his original artwork.

Encyclopedia of Body Adornment by Margo DeMello

Encyclopedia of Body Adornment by Margo DeMello

Encyclopedia of Body Adornment by Margo DeMello

DeMello’s Encyclopedia of Body Adornment is a great read for anyone who is not only interested in the history of tattoos, piercings, and body modifications, but also wants to know about the social and cultural practices. The encyclopedia addresses acupuncture, branding, foot binding, henna, and lip plates, among many other subjects. The book includes information on cultural beauty practices and how body adornment and modification can affect a society.

In the Flesh: The Cultural Politics of Body Modification by Victoria Pitts

Encyclopedia of Body Adornment by Margo DeMello

In the Flesh: The Cultural Politics of Body Modification by Victoria Pitts

Pitts’s book includes several years worth of interviews with body modifiers. It gives a critical look at the phenomenon of body modification and how those that are involved in the movement are seen by society. The book examines cultural attitudes about identity and the body in regards to body adornment and modification.

This list only scratches the surface of books available on this subject. To learn more about tattoos, piercings, and body modifications, stop by the Lower Level of the UGL or browse the online catalog. Have any suggestions for future reader’s advisory topics? Let us know!

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