The Paradox of Black Freedom: Black Female Sexuality in Contemporary Performance,1965-2000

Shoniqua Danee Roach
2017 unpublished
The Paradox of Black Freedom: Black Female Sexuality in Contemporary Performance,1965-2000 Shoniqua Danee Roach This dissertation examines how filmic, literary, and popular musical performances of black female sexualities in the post-civil rights era both reveal and frustrate state-sanctioned infringements on black freedom. "The Paradox of Black Freedom: Black Female Sexuality in Contemporary Performance, 1965-2000" elucidates a powerful paradox wherein the US state enacts legislation that
more » ... gislation that ostensibly lifts symbolic and material impediments to black citizenship while also instituting public policies that police black sexuality. The black female performers at the heart of this study expose this paradox and offer new ways of understanding black freedom. In the dissertation, I focus specifically on how Pam Grier's 1970s Blaxploitation film performances, black lesbian writers' 1980s novels, and neo-soul women's 1990s albums challenged conterminous public policy enactments that characterized black female sexuality in ways that both justified and facilitated black sexual regulation via state-sanctioned surveillance of black households and erotic life, infractions on black reproductive autonomy, and attempts to coerce black subjects into heteropatriarchal familial formations. In so doing, my dissertation contributes to the fields of Performance Studies, Black Studies, and Gender and Sexuality Studies by locating black female sexuality as a key site for those very mechanisms of anti-black state violence that currently encumber black life. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This dissertation would not have materialized without the support of my committee, colleagues, friends, and family. I am endlessly thankful for their generosity, love, and wisdom.
doi:10.21985/n2hx74 fatcat:zpj3raf4effzhasqutuihy7taq