Do or Die: Affect, Ritual, Resistance Open Access

Pecou, Fahamu (Spring 2018)

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Historically, a threat—both physical and social—has worked to control and coerce Black subjectivity into the prevailing social order. This threat of violence and death is woven into the cultural fabric of society and remains so pervasive that it has become a kind of spectacle; a spectacle of Black death. My dissertation, “Do or Die: Affect, Ritual, Resistance” is a visual dissertation that privileges the affective and phenomenological language of art and ritual to counter this spectacle while encouraging new modes of communication, understanding, and resistance. “Do or Die: Affect Ritual Resistance” re-members Black subjectivity through an interrogation of the Black body, mind, and spirit, represented respectively through concepts inherent to hip hop culture, Négritude, and Ifa (Yoruba spiritual cosmology). 


This visual dissertation features original artworks-as-texts which function in opposition to the overwhelming societal forces that maintain brutal and dehumanizing assaults on the Black body. As narratives within visual culture continue to depict Black bodies as dead or dying, “Do or Die” explores concepts and themes that ultimately, reorient the Black experience around death. 

Table of Contents

Introduction, 2


Part 1: The Body, 12


Chapter 1: Egún Dance Drawings, 36


Chapter 2: Emmett Still, 43


Chapter 3: Emmett Still album, 47


Part 2: The Mind, 58


Chapter 4:  Visual Oriki, 77


Part 3: The Spirit, 84


Chapter 5: New World Egúngún, 102


Conclusion, 119


Bibliography, 124

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