Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D. in English

Department

English

First Advisor

Adetayo Alabi

Second Advisor

Leigh Anne Duck

Third Advisor

Shennette Garrett-Scott

Abstract

The black woman’s humanity is unjustly linked to domestic responsibility and, thus, the traditional constraints of mothering. The roles of the mother and the created archetype of the mammy often become marred with the latter role overtaking the former—leaving black children without full benefit and access to their biological maternal parent. With the pervasive threat to black lives present in spaces all over the globe, for women of the African Diaspora, simply deciding to accept the role of a mother to a life that is physically, socially, and economically under siege is revolutionary. Considering this, the act of mothering, especially for women of color, exists as a potentially radical and revolutionary act which moves the effects of mothering beyond children, beyond traditional roles, and into the universe—making mothering limitless. This project focuses specifically on the mothering practices of black women that resist the oppressive systems designed to disenfranchise them and their communities. In this analysis, I engage the presence of black mothering as a revolutionary tool of resistance of systematic oppressions in Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood, Lorene Cary’s The Price of a Child, Toni Cade Bambara’s Those Bones Are Not My Child, and Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus.

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