A Peculiar Sense: A Black Feminist Genealogy Of Soul Restricted; Files Only

Jordan, Taryn (Spring 2020)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/kd17ct95w?locale=en


My dissertation is a genealogy of how black folks use soul to endure an anti-black world. Through archival research on soul food and soulful home aesthetics, I address the persistent question posed by W.E.B. Du Bois "How does it feel to be a problem?" Specifically, I explore how black women's labor has been central to black endurance. Working with the kind of large historical archive required by genealogical analysis, I analyze black women's tactics of collective survival from Columbus's encounter with West Africans in 1482 to the emergence of Black Lives Matter in the present. This project argues that black women have historically used soul [another word for collective black feeling] to produce an alternative ethics of endurance based in domestic practices. My research brings together the interdisciplinary fields of black feminist studies and critical black studies, which curiously have developed separately. I do this by insisting that black women's domestic labor contributes to the black radical tradition (e.g. Angela Davis, Combahee River Collective, Cedric Robinson). Ultimately, I contend that the domestic production of soul--another word for emotion or feeling--is foundational to black survival. My tracing of soul shows that black women create objects of domesticity to counter the intensification of anti-black violence on a collective level. 

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:

Introduction pg. 1

Chapter 1: "Black Is a Soul: The Problem of Black Consciousness" pg. 28

Chapter 2: "Soul: Food and Thought" pg. 73

Chapter 3: "Black Eros in the Archive of Soul: What’s Love Got to Do With It?" pg. 104

Coda: "Or Something Like Final Words On Endurance" pg. 139

References pg. 143 

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