The course of true love: Romantic love in African-American culture

Tyrone Yarbrough, University of Pennsylvania


The role of the emotions in human life has become a subject of increasing interest for historians, psychologists, philosophers, sociologists and anthropologists. It has not been so in the field of Folklore. One subject that has been especially left unexplored has been emotionology: the attitudes or standards that a society, or a definable group within a society, maintains about basic emotions and their appropriate expression. Any emotion may be examined, but the emotional construction labeled romantic love is analyzed here. The absence of the sentiment called romantic love in Black culture has been noted sporadically in African American scholarship. Although romantic expression does appear in African American folklore, romantic love has not been as prevalent in African and African American culture as it has been in European and Euro-American culture. The focus of this dissertation will be to examine the relationship between race, culture and emotion, to examine the emotional lives of Black men and women, and to critical assess the state of gender relations in African American culture.

Subject Area

Folklore|Black studies|African American Studies

Recommended Citation

Yarbrough, Tyrone, "The course of true love: Romantic love in African-American culture" (1996). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9628033.