The Blacknesses of Blackness: Fugitivity, Feminism, and Transness

Other Titles


“The Blacknesses of Blackness: Fugitivity, Feminism, and Transness,” recalibrates blackness, black feminism, and transness less as bodily endowments or “identities” and more as various inflections of subjectivities in excess of categorization, normativity, and imposed ontologies. It establishes a gendered account of black fugitivity, the purpose of which is not to argue that thinkers of blackness as proximate to fugitivity always fail to think race and gender simultaneously; rather, it is to argue that black fugitivity conceived through a trans/feminist theoretical lens makes clearer the ways in which blackness-as-fugitivity interacts with radical understandings of gender. To facilitate this, the dissertation read treatises of antebellum slaves and theorizations of blackness and gender to excavate how they converge with contemporary feminist and trans texts; the prose poetry of Alexis Pauline Gumbs in the context of women of color feminists and diaspora theorists; the cultural phenomenon of Rachel Dolezal and the “racial reassignment surgery” discourse of Jess Row’s novel Your Face in Mine (2014) alongside black trans theories of the analytics of blackness and gender; and black feminist critical engagements with Afro-pessimism. What if, the dissertation queries, we think about blackness and black feminism not as the province of people with particular bodies but as ways of locating subjectivity elsewhere than how we have been scripted to be able to exist legibly? What if we bring the “trans”—movement in excess of an unchosen starting point to an undisclosed destination—to bear on blackness?

Journal / Series

Volume & Issue



Date Issued




English literature; Gender studies; African American studies


Effective Date

Expiration Date




Union Local


Number of Workers

Committee Chair

Mann, Jenny C

Committee Co-Chair

Committee Member

Woubshet, Dagmawi
Snorton, C. Riley

Degree Discipline

English Language and Literature

Degree Name

Ph.D., English Language and Literature

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

Related Version

Related DOI

Related To

Related Part

Based on Related Item

Has Other Format(s)

Part of Related Item

Related To

Related Publication(s)

Link(s) to Related Publication(s)


Link(s) to Reference(s)

Previously Published As

Government Document




Other Identifiers


Rights URI


dissertation or thesis

Accessibility Feature

Accessibility Hazard

Accessibility Summary

Link(s) to Catalog Record