Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Bryant Mangum

Second Advisor

Shermaine Jones

Third Advisor

Cristina Stanciu

Fourth Advisor

Brandi Summers

Fifth Advisor

Michael Hall


The subject of my thesis project is black nonfiction, namely the essay, memoir, and autobiography, written by black authors about and during the Post-Civil Rights Era. The central goals of this work are to briefly investigate the role of genre analysis within the various subsets of nonfiction and also to exemplify the ways that black writers have taken key genre models and evolved them. Secondly, I aim to understand the historical, political, and cultural contributions of the Post-Civil Rights Era, which I mark as hitting its stride in 1968. It is not my desire to create a definitive historical framework for the Post-Civil Rights Era, but instead to understand it as a period of transition, revolt, and transformation which asked many important questions that have remained unanswered. I apply multiple theoretical frameworks to my research — like queer theory, Afro-pessimism, fugitivity, and more — to offer insights into the nonfiction works of writers such as James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Angela Davis, Alice Walker, Larry Neale, and Toni Cade Bambara. It is my hope to continue the work of such scholars as Hortense Spillers, Angela Ards, and Margo V. Perkins, by illustrating not only how these authors offered literary and aesthetic innovations, but also, through the archiving of their life experiences in print, create theories and practices for survival, forged in the past, which impact our current moment, and inspire us as scholars and activists to do the same.


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