Theoretical Orientation and Methodology

Theoretical Framework:
Black Feminist/womanist theory

“Afrocentric feminist thought offers two significant contributions toward Furthering our understanding of the important connections among knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. First, Black feminist thought fosters a fundamental paradigmatic shift in how we think about oppression. By embracing a paradigm of race, class, and gender as interlocking systems of oppression, Black feminist thought reconceptualizes the social relations of dommation and resistance. Second, Black feminist thought addresses ongoing epistemological debates in feminist theory and in the sociology of knowledge concerning ways of assessing “truth.” Offering subordinate groups new knowledge about their own experiences can be empowering. But revealing new ways of knowing that allow subordinate groups to define their own reality has far greater implications.”

Source: Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1990), pp. 221–238B

“The concept of the simultaneity of oppression is still the crux of a Black feminist understanding of political reality and, I believe, one of the most significant ideological contributions of Black feminist thought.”
—Black feminist and scholar Barbara Smith, 19832

History/Archival/Call and Response

Phase 1: The first phase of this project consisted of stitching frayed histories. As this project was developed during the Covid-19 pandemic, I relied heavily on digital sources and traced genealogies from within while searching multiple entry points. Specifically, I pulled snapshots of the ways in which Black peoples have created and engaged in creative process as a means to support and promote emotional health and wellbeing and put this in conversation with the historical backdrop. This method leans into what Stuart Hall and Paul C. Taylor have articulated as “assembly.” Assembly, according to Paul C. Taylor (2016), “refuses the quest for a ‘definitive interpretation’ […]. It aspires instead to identify, gather together, and explore the linked contextual factors in virtue of which we might productively and provisionally comprehend various phenomena under a single heading” (p. 3).

Phase 2: To honor Black aesthetics and traditions, I have implemented call and response as central into my method. In the second phase of this project, I will invite Black people to submit pictures, images, short videos, and other representations (with a brief narrative) that reflect experiences of engaging in Black Music, Performance and embodied practices that support(ed) or promote(d) emotional health and wellbeing.

In lifting voices, stories, histories from the archives, I am intentionally centering Black narratives, histories and voices. My intention is to let the past tell its own story and reveal the wisdom and knowledge points that exist in the encounter(s).

Emergent Themes:

Black Music, Performance and Embodied Praxis As

•Expression and cultural memory

•Resistance, Activism, Disruption and Subversion (RADS)

•Freedom dreams, Radical Hope and the Black radical imagination