The Underground of History: Spirituality as Reflected Through Movement, Community, and the Chaos of Formlessness in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
A significant theme of scholars' discussions about Invisible Man (1952) is race as it relates to African American lives. I suggest that Invisible Man is, in many ways, a product of its time and a necessary reminder of the African-American experience during that time. However, it also offers the reader a deeper understanding of spirituality concerning widespread inequality. Ellison's conception of spirituality utilizes fragments of mainstream, cultural representations of the Black experience as the raw elements for creating an interdisciplinary discourse, which I describe as Black spirituality infusing ideas of Kemeticism. It is crucial to state the difference between Black spirituality and African-American spirituality. Black spirituality, as defined in "The Underground of History," explores the understudied spiritual and mystical aspects of Kemeticism as reflected through Invisible Man. Relationships such as these reveal a connection to notions about African worldviews, movement, formlessness, and chaos. African-American spirituality, however, is a modern evolution of Black spirituality deeply infused with Christianity. At times, Ellison explores and critiques African-American spirituality and offers Black spirituality as a lens to view the world for African American practices and healing.
Johnson, Ikea, "The Underground of History: Spirituality as Reflected Through Movement, Community, and the Chaos of Formlessness in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man" (2022). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 5881.
Available for download on Wednesday, May 30, 2029
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