Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



This dissertation investigates how Black girlhood operates as is its own geography and cartography. Rooted in girlhood and childhood studies, Black transatlantic studies, and women and gender studies, my project expands definitions of girlhood by rendering it as more than just a stage Black girls matriculate through but as a site they return to through memory. I analyze genres from slave narratives to the bildungsroman to young adult literature where literary Black girls and women recollect their experiences as girlchilds and their traversal across different locales. I evidence how remembering their childhoods and returning rather physically or psychically to the terrains they navigated challenge notions of age, place, and childhood and rechart pathways to girlhood. Their returns to terrains they navigated, namely plantations, cane fields, and sites of hurricanes, transform these topographies into what I coin plantationscapes, canescapes, and hurricanescapes that center transgressive and subversive modes of resistance and being. By worrying these constructs and boundaries, Black women and nonbinary writers subvert definitions of childhood, genre, and space making and offer new definitions of girlhood, childhood, adolescence, and what it means to come of age.



Committee Chair

Gourdine, Angeletta KM



Available for download on Thursday, March 29, 2029