Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Communication Studies

Document Type



Blackness shines bright like the moon and beams outside of identity parameters that are limiting in Western society to determine its communicative function inside and outside systems of power. When Blackness intersects with performance, various ways to construct identity are highlighted to expand our understanding of theory and methods that emphasize difference and culture. This research project aims to reimagine Blackness as a performance methodology to explore the performer’s livelihood onstage and constructions of race that impact identity offstage. Additionally, this project is built from a specific method created from the continuous use of expressive work that reflects societal challenges and responds to transformative healing, such as joy. The data for this project consists of personal encounters with Black culture and a symbolic journey shaped by public discourse surrounding expectations, narratives, and stereotypes about the Black lived experience. The application of life, culture, and politics are present in this translation of characteristics about the fluidity of Blackness and performance that is not solely read as entertainment. Other themes include a look at the influences of Afrocentrism, the diversity of Black creative expression, the significance of Black Feminist critique, and insight into the future of Performance Studies. These findings indicate a need for Black Performance Methods focusing on the intersections of identity and creative expression to produce a framework that allows representations of Black life to speak for themselves.



Committee Chair

Shaffer, Tracy



Available for download on Thursday, August 01, 2024