Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

For this project, I am interested in the study of nuanced self-representations of Black rage that appear within African American literary traditions, specifically the blues aesthetic, wherein artists narrativize a wide spectrum of intelligent and specific emotion--not just melancholy. Blues narratives in which Black people self-represent are in direct opposition to flattened narratives of certain affective modes such as anger as a useless, backwards, pathologized, and flat feeling that appear within dominant U.S. and global iconographies. What I see in the blues aesthetic is the capacity for a multichromatic approach to studying rage and Black authorship in America. By using works from a miscellany of Black women (and some Black men) artists, I argue there are characteristics that identify performances of Black women’s rage as its own category and color, as opposed to monochromatism or colorblindness. I use Black rage as an umbrella term to describe the myriad of ways that Black folks respond to the pervasiveness of White supremacy in the U.S. Rage is described here as not only as a survival mechanism for Black writers, but an affect best suited for understanding themes within Black creative production during and after slavery.

Date

5-22-2022

Committee Chair

Weinstein, Susan

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