Semester of Graduation

Spring 2024


Master of Arts in Liberal Arts (MALA)


Liberal Arts

Document Type



The trope of the journey is one of the oldest in fiction and non-fiction alike. “An Uncertain Pilgrimage” explores this trope as it has historically and contemporarily related to African American descended people in Louisiana. Focusing on four geographical sites, the swamp, port, plantation and church, the project notes how patterns of escape and return journeys appear. The project is separated into two sections: escape and return. The first section explores the theme of escape in the swamp and the port. “The Swamp” looks at narratives of marronage in eighteenth century Louisiana and “The Port” offers an interpretation of nineteenth century arrest records from New Orleans’ police and patrol. The second section focuses on the contemporary moment and explores the plantation and church as geographies where contemporary descendants of enslaved people return. “The Plantation” offers an autoethnographic narration of the author’s work at the Whitney Plantation and “The Church” examines ethnographic interviews with members of a family church.

The project argues that African descended people’s experiences in Louisiana have been characterized by uncertainty. Moreover, the project argues that these uncertainties cannot be encompassed by any single academic discipline. With this in mind, “An Uncertain Pilgrimage” uses an interdisciplinary approach engage with these uncertainties. Drawing on history, religious studies, creative non-fiction, ethnography and more, the project seeks to demonstrate the necessity of interdisciplinarity in Black Studies.



Committee Chair

Pasquier, Michael

Available for download on Wednesday, April 02, 2031