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University of Massachusetts Amherst

American Studies

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Full-Text Articles in Arts and Humanities

Black Men Who Betray Their Race: 20th Century Literary Representations Of The Black Male Race Traitor, Gregory Coleman Jul 2019

Black Men Who Betray Their Race: 20th Century Literary Representations Of The Black Male Race Traitor, Gregory Coleman

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation, Black Men Who Betray Their Race, gathers a literary archive in order to identify and introduce the “race traitor” as a heretofore unrecognized yet important trope within 20th century African-American Literature. In addition to coping with the burden of racism, African Americans have had to put considerable energy toward negotiating the possibility of being perceived as race traitors by others within the African American community. This study tracks the possibilities and perils of black group identity in literary representations of black men, neither privileging opposition to the white world, nor celebrating black unity beyond it. Focusing on ...


Interpreting Access: A History Of Accessibility And Disability Representations In The National Park Service, Perri Meldon Jul 2019

Interpreting Access: A History Of Accessibility And Disability Representations In The National Park Service, Perri Meldon

Masters Theses

This thesis illustrates the accomplishments and challenges of enhancing accessibility across the national parks, at the same time that great need to diversify the parks and their interpretation of American disability history remains. Chapters describe the administrative history of the NPS Accessibility Program (1979-present), exploring the decisions from both within and outside the federal agency, to break physical and programmatic barriers to make parks more inclusive for people with sensory, physical, and cognitive disabilities; and provide a case study of the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site (HOFR) in New York. The case study describes the creation of ...


The Politics Of Feeling And The Work Of Belonging In Us Immigrant Fiction 1990 - 2015, Lauren Silber Nov 2018

The Politics Of Feeling And The Work Of Belonging In Us Immigrant Fiction 1990 - 2015, Lauren Silber

Doctoral Dissertations

“The Politics of Feeling and the Work of Belonging in US Immigrant Fiction 1990 – 2015” presents readers with a distinct optic: if we are to fully grasp contemporary US racial politics, we must recognize the narrative work emotion performs in popular US diasporic fiction. Comparing the work of authors who have become mainstays in the multi-ethnic US literary canon such as Jhumpa Lahiri, Julia Alvarez, Junot Díaz, Lan Cao, Achy Obejas, Cristina Garcia, Kiran Desai, and Nora Okja Keller, I explicate how these popular authors exhume the complex entanglements of racialization, US empire, and global capitalism by narrating the everyday ...


Charting The Terrain Of Latina/O/X Theater In Chicago, Priscilla M. Page Nov 2018

Charting The Terrain Of Latina/O/X Theater In Chicago, Priscilla M. Page

Doctoral Dissertations

There is a rich tapestry of Latina/o/x theater in Chicago. Through in-depth interviews, I use first-voice narratives to construct four decades of Latina/o/x theater history with the artists who were founding directors and/or members of these companies: Latino Chicago, Latino Experimental Theater Company, Teatro Vista, Teatro Luna, and Urban Theater Company. My aim with this project is to listen carefully to Latina/o/x artists in Chicago so that I can play a role in amplifying their voices as they articulate their experiences in this Midwestern city they call home. I organized my findings into ...


Kiskeyanas Valientes En Este Espacio: Dominican Women Writers And The Spaces Of Contemporary American Literature, Isabel R. Espinal Jul 2018

Kiskeyanas Valientes En Este Espacio: Dominican Women Writers And The Spaces Of Contemporary American Literature, Isabel R. Espinal

Doctoral Dissertations

We can learn and gain a lot by putting Dominican women writers at the center of our attention. Yet they rarely have that place. This dissertation looks at Dominican women authors who have lived and written in the United States —Josefina Báez, Marianela Medrano, Yrene Santos, Aurora Arias, Nelly Rosario, Annecy Báez, Ana Maurine Lara, Raquel Cepeda— and how they fit within the spaces of contemporary American society, and more broadly within world flows of peoples and cultural productions. I draw on the theories and methodologies of Gloria Anzaldúa and her generation of feminists of color, as well as subsequent ...


Asian American Heritage Seeking: Personal Narrative Performances Of Ancestral Return, Porntip Israsena Twishime Jul 2018

Asian American Heritage Seeking: Personal Narrative Performances Of Ancestral Return, Porntip Israsena Twishime

Masters Theses

Asian American belongings, migration patterns, and transnational identities are largely constructed in the United States as static, unidirectional, and invisible. Asian Americans complicate these constructions through the practice of ancestral return. In this thesis, “ancestral return” is constituted through one’s participation in a university study abroad program to a specific place to where one traces her heritage. I use “return” not necessarily to account for a form of reverse migration; rather “return” here names the multiple, sometimes contradictory kinds of return, including “return” to a place that one has not yet been. This project examines how Asian American identities ...


Sex And Difference In The Jewish American Family: Incest Narratives In 1990s Literary And Pop Culture, Eli W. Bromberg Mar 2018

Sex And Difference In The Jewish American Family: Incest Narratives In 1990s Literary And Pop Culture, Eli W. Bromberg

Doctoral Dissertations

My dissertation investigates protective representations of white male Jewish masculinity in the 1990s, via the lens of celebrity incest narratives. In chapters on Woody Allen, Roseanne Barr, and Henry Roth, I demonstrate how media coverage of their respective incest denials (Allen), allegations (Barr), and confessions (Roth) intersect with a history of sexual anti-Semitism. Though prevalent in nineteenth century Europe, sexual anti-Semitism, which simultaneously emasculated Jewish men and rendered them as sexual threats, no longer permeates discourse in the same fashion as the sexualizing component of antiblack racism. I examine how these iconic Jewish artists, news media, and artistic contemporaries, negotiated ...


Demanding Spaces: 1970s U.S. Women's Novels As Sites Of Struggle, Kate Marantz Nov 2017

Demanding Spaces: 1970s U.S. Women's Novels As Sites Of Struggle, Kate Marantz

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation offers a new view of 1970s gender and race politics in the United States by analyzing struggles in and over space in four women’s novels: Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays (1970), Toni Morrison’s Sula (1973), Alice Walker’s Meridian (1976), and Marilyn French’s The Women’s Room (1977). My project reads space as a dynamic, politically charged realm of interactions between lived bodies, physical landscapes, and imaginative territories—including the formal characteristics of fiction. Using this critical lens, I highlight how these authors interrogate conditions of sexism and racism by representing their ...


“The Blackness Of Blackness”: Meta-Black Identity In 20th/21st Century African American Culture, Casey Hayman Nov 2017

“The Blackness Of Blackness”: Meta-Black Identity In 20th/21st Century African American Culture, Casey Hayman

Doctoral Dissertations

The central claim in this dissertation is that much contemporary African American cultural expression would be better conceptualized not as “post-black,” as some would have it, but as what I call “meta-black.” I use the preface “meta-” because while this contemporary black identity also resists sometimes constrictive conceptions of “authentic” black identity from within the African American community, I diverge from theorists of “post-blackness” in observing the ways that, as Nicole Fleetwood observes, blackness necessarily “circulates” within a technologically-driven mediascape, and these postmodern black subjects work within and against the constraints of this aural-visual regime of blackness in order to ...


We Are Roses From Our Mothers' Gardens: Black Feminist Visuality In African American Women's Art, Kelli Morgan Nov 2017

We Are Roses From Our Mothers' Gardens: Black Feminist Visuality In African American Women's Art, Kelli Morgan

Doctoral Dissertations

ABSTRACT

WE ARE ROSES FROM OUR MOTHERS’ GARDENS: BLACK FEMINIST VISUALITY IN AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN’S ART

MAY 2017

KELLI MORGAN, B.A., WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY

M.A., UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST

Ph.D., UNIVERISTY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST

Directed by: Professor Manisha Sinha

We Are Roses From Our Mothers' Gardens posits that in differing historical periods African American women visual artists employed various media and create from individual political thoughts, intellectual views, and aesthetic interests to emphasize the innate unification of a Black woman’s race, gender, sexuality, class, and selfhood and how this multifaceted dynamic of Black women’s ...


Media:Culture:Policy, Or What We Talk About When We Talk About (Cultural) Policy, Sean Johnson Andrews, Janice Peck, Gilbert B. Rodman, Fan Yang (杨帆) Oct 2017

Media:Culture:Policy, Or What We Talk About When We Talk About (Cultural) Policy, Sean Johnson Andrews, Janice Peck, Gilbert B. Rodman, Fan Yang (杨帆)

communication +1

The relationship between culture and policy has long been a major topic for media and cultural studies. With this issue, we hope to broaden the meaning of cultural policy, from policies that are explicitly regulating something we call the “cultural” (including media or traditional rituals or symbols) to include the practice of policy-making and the cultural legitimation of law and policy itself, regardless of the object or dimension of social life it regulates. The essays in this issue argue for (or at least accept) an understanding of policy as a cultural production representing certain ideological outlooks, and thus implicitly suggest ...


The Economy Of Evangelism In The Colonial American South, Julia Carroll Jul 2017

The Economy Of Evangelism In The Colonial American South, Julia Carroll

Masters Theses

Eighteenth-century Methodist evangelism supported, perpetuated, and promoted slavery as requisite for a productive economy in the colonial American South. Religious thought of the First Great Awakening emerged alongside a colonial economy increasingly reliant on chattel slavery for its prosperity. The records of well-traveled celebrity minister and provocateur of the Anglican tradition, George Whitefield, suggest how Calvinist-Methodist evangelicals viewed slavery as necessary to supporting colonial ministerial efforts. Whitefield’s absorption of and immersion into American culture is revealed in his owning a plantation, portraying a willingness to sacrifice the mobility of the disfranchised for widespread consumption of evangelical thought. A side ...


Moving Against Clothespins:The Poli(Poe)Tics Of Embodiment In The Poetry Of Miriam Alves And Audre Lorde, Flávia Santos De Araújo Jul 2017

Moving Against Clothespins:The Poli(Poe)Tics Of Embodiment In The Poetry Of Miriam Alves And Audre Lorde, Flávia Santos De Araújo

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation examines literary representations of the black female body in selected poetry by U.S. African American writer Audre Lorde and Afro-Brazilian writer Miriam Alves, focusing on how their literary projects construct and defy notions of black womanhood and black female sexualities in dialogue with national narratives and contexts. Within an historical, intersectional and transnational theoretical framework, this study analyses how the racial, gender and sexual politics of representation are articulated and negotiated within and outside the political and literary movements in the U.S. and Brazil in the 1970s and 1980s. As a theoretical framework, this research elaborates ...


Master's Tools And The Master's House: A Historical Analysis Exploring The Myth Of Educating For Democracy In The United States, Timothy Scott Mar 2017

Master's Tools And The Master's House: A Historical Analysis Exploring The Myth Of Educating For Democracy In The United States, Timothy Scott

Doctoral Dissertations

Over the past forty-years, neoliberal education reform policies in the U.S. have spurred significant resistance, often galvanized by claims that such policies undermine public education as a vital institution of U.S. democracy. Within this narrative, many activists call to “save our schools” and return them to a time when public schools served the common good. With these narratives in mind, I explore the foundational and persistent power structures that characterize the U.S. as a means to reveal the fundamental purpose of its public education system. The questions that guide my research include: (1) With an understanding that ...


Protest Lyrics At Work: Labor Resistance Poetry Of Depression-Era Autoworkers, Rebecca S. Griffin Nov 2016

Protest Lyrics At Work: Labor Resistance Poetry Of Depression-Era Autoworkers, Rebecca S. Griffin

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation argues that scholarly inquiry into American poetry of the Great Depression is incomplete without a critical understanding of poems produced within the labor movement. Through archival research and methodologies drawn from American studies, gender studies, cultural studies, and labor history, this dissertation demonstrates that autoworkers from 1935-1941 developed a rich poetic discourse that championed their cause. Autoworker poets—including autoworker song lyricists—used humor and borrowed extensively from popular, religious, and “folk” cultures to craft their own poetic styles and trope sets. They wrote about a diverse range of topics from their hopes for the unionization movement, to ...


"Daring Propaganda For The Beauty Of The Human Mind:" Critical Consciousness-Raising In The Poetry And Drama Of The Black Power Era, 1965-1976, Markeysha D. Davis Nov 2016

"Daring Propaganda For The Beauty Of The Human Mind:" Critical Consciousness-Raising In The Poetry And Drama Of The Black Power Era, 1965-1976, Markeysha D. Davis

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation is a literary and intellectual history of the contributions of black American theorists, poets, and dramatists in the 1960s and 1970s towards the establishment of black critical consciousness in order to lay grounds for black people to experience a fuller existence as human beings through black-centered creations and presentations. Through the following chapters, I establish the framework and evolution of black psyche-liberation theories—spanning Du Bois’s theory of double-conscious through the contributions of black artist-theorists like Baraka, Neal, and Woodie King, Jr., followed by examinations at length of the theories of black liberation in praxis by the ...


Of Wolves, Hunters, And Words: A Comparative Study Of Cultural Discourses In The Western Great Lakes Region, Tovar Cerulli Mar 2016

Of Wolves, Hunters, And Words: A Comparative Study Of Cultural Discourses In The Western Great Lakes Region, Tovar Cerulli

Doctoral Dissertations

This study is a description, interpretation, and comparison of talk about wolves. The study is based on diverse data—including in-depth interviews, instances of public talk, government documents, and letters to the editor—gathered over three years. An overarching research question guides the study: How do hunting communities create and use discourses concerning wolves? The study is situated within the ethnography of communication and, more specifically, the framework of cultural discourse analysis. The study employs cultural discourse analysis methods and concepts to describe and develop interpretations of how participants render wolves symbolically meaningful, and of beliefs and values underpinning such ...


Transnationalizing Social Justice Education: Interamerican Frameworks For Teaching And Learning In The 21st Century, Mirangela G. Buggs Mar 2016

Transnationalizing Social Justice Education: Interamerican Frameworks For Teaching And Learning In The 21st Century, Mirangela G. Buggs

Doctoral Dissertations

Social Justice Education currently uses mostly U.S.-based theories and concepts, and it often relies upon nation-specific historical legacies and nation-centric contemporary understandings of patterns of inequality. This study offers interdisciplinary conceptual-historical frameworks garnered from historical studies, African Diaspora Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, along with studies of frameworks and pedagogies in critical and multicultural education to enlarge Social Justice Education. This conceptual study utilizes a world-historical analysis and focuses on the interconnectedness of the Americas—Latin America, the Caribbean, and North America— establishing a hemispheric and regional framework to inspire more transnational work in educational projects. Arguing ...


A List Of Racialized Black Dolls: 1850-1940, Anthony F. Martin Jan 2016

A List Of Racialized Black Dolls: 1850-1940, Anthony F. Martin

African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter

Between 1850 and 1940 Black racialized dolls made in Europe and the northern United States saturated the marketplace with the peak years in the 1920s. These dolls were advertised with pejorative names and descriptions that typed cast African Americans as domestics and labors on mythical antebellum landscapes assisted White children in shaping Black people as inferior to Whites. Data mining doll encyclopedias, websites, and catalogs, I have compiled a list of Black racialized dolls. Additionally, I have provided advertisements of positive imagine Black dolls from The Crisis and The Negro World that provided a counterweight to the stereotyped dolls.


Terracotta Pipes With Triangular Engravings, Flavia Zorzi, Daniel G. Schávelzon Jan 2016

Terracotta Pipes With Triangular Engravings, Flavia Zorzi, Daniel G. Schávelzon

African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter

The discovery of two smoking pipes from seventeenth-century contexts in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is used to suggest the presence in colonial times of a new set of stylistic norms derived from African traditions that are expressed at a regional scale not only in smoking pipes, but in a variety of items of material culture. These terracotta pipes, recovered at Bolívar 373 and the Liniers House sites, are characterized by their particular geometric decorative pattern, achieved by engravings and incisions. Similar specimens were found elsewhere in Buenos Aires, as well as in Cayastá (province of Santa Fe, Argentina) and Brazil.


For My Brother, Prescott Smith: Died Suddenly September 24, 2015, Charles Kay Smith Oct 2015

For My Brother, Prescott Smith: Died Suddenly September 24, 2015, Charles Kay Smith

Charles Kay Smith

This is an elegy for my brother written the week following his death.


Navigating The Interim, Joseph E. Saphire Jr Jul 2015

Navigating The Interim, Joseph E. Saphire Jr

Masters Theses

Navigating the Interim attempts to build a framework for the ways in which visual art, media studies, and forms of social practice might intermingle within a career in the arts, as well as within a thorough art education curriculum. From broad theoretical analysis to the specificity of technical exercises and prompts, this paper serves as a roadmap for the ways in which production, teaching, and organizing might begin to merge into a single holistic practice. The author’s projects provide an anchor from which to analyze the various conceptual trajectories of art that have stemmed from modernism throughout the 20th ...


Historic Black Lives Matter: Archaeology As Activism In The 21st Century, Kelley F. Deetz, Ellen Chapman, Ana Edwards, Phil Wilayto Apr 2015

Historic Black Lives Matter: Archaeology As Activism In The 21st Century, Kelley F. Deetz, Ellen Chapman, Ana Edwards, Phil Wilayto

African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter

May 19, 2015 would have been Malcolm X’s 90th birthday, and fifty years after his assassination we are still dealing with the ghosts of slavery, Jim Crow, and the manifestations of institutionalized racism. While much progress was made from the Civil Rights Movement, we still have far to go. This past year brought the topics of slavery, civil rights, and racism back into the mainstream. These stories are not new for those of us who work tirelessly to chronicle these historical and contemporary narratives in an attempt to educate the public about Black history. The “New Civil Rights Movement ...


The Significance Of Richmond's Shockoe Bottom: Why It's The Wrong Place For A Baseball Stadium, Ana Edwards, Phil Wilayto Jan 2015

The Significance Of Richmond's Shockoe Bottom: Why It's The Wrong Place For A Baseball Stadium, Ana Edwards, Phil Wilayto

African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter

No abstract provided.


The Thread: Reflections On #Blacklivesmatter And 21st Century Racial Dynamics, Kelley Deetz Jan 2015

The Thread: Reflections On #Blacklivesmatter And 21st Century Racial Dynamics, Kelley Deetz

African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter

No abstract provided.


Related Media And Additional Reading Jan 2015

Related Media And Additional Reading

African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter

No abstract provided.


Richmond’S Archaeology Of The African Diaspora: Unseen Knowledge, Untapped Potential, Ellen Chapman Jan 2015

Richmond’S Archaeology Of The African Diaspora: Unseen Knowledge, Untapped Potential, Ellen Chapman

African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter

No abstract provided.


Don’T Call It A Comeback, We’Ve Been Here For Years: Reintroducing The African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter, Kelley Deetz Jan 2015

Don’T Call It A Comeback, We’Ve Been Here For Years: Reintroducing The African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter, Kelley Deetz

African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter

No abstract provided.


Resurrection: Representations Of The Black Church In Contemporary Popular Culture, Rachel J. Daniel Nov 2014

Resurrection: Representations Of The Black Church In Contemporary Popular Culture, Rachel J. Daniel

Doctoral Dissertations

From 1997 to 2013, there have been multiple representations of the black church in popular culture. African American artists have always explored spirituality within black communities; in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, however, the increasing fame of Tyler Perry, T.D. Jakes, Steve Harvey, and other prominent African American Christians has placed black church culture on the center stage of American mainstream media. This dissertation examines contemporary black Christian popular fiction, stage performances, black church films, and rap music. These representations demonstrate that black church culture is distinct from secular black popular culture and white evangelical ...


Transnational Gestures: Rethinking Trauma In U.S. War Fiction, Ruth A.H. Lahti Aug 2014

Transnational Gestures: Rethinking Trauma In U.S. War Fiction, Ruth A.H. Lahti

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation addresses the need to "world" our literary histories of U.S. war fiction, arguing that a transnational approach to this genre remaps on an enlarged scale the ethical implications of 20th and 21st century war writing. This study turns to representations of the human body to differently apprehend the ethical struggles of war fiction, thereby rethinking psychological and nationalist models of war trauma and developing a new method of reading the literature of war. To lay the ground for this analysis, I argue that the dominance of trauma theory in critical work on U.S. war fiction privileges ...