Date of Award

2021

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Africana Studies

First Advisor

Timothy Rommen

Abstract

Coloniality can be understood in part as the construction and deployment of hierarchical notions of difference in order to eradicate all peoples and practices defined as different from the colonizing self, norm, community, nation, or race. It is a way of thinking, a way of being, and a way of relating with other life that was and remains central to European colonial projects in the Caribbean. It is a colonial legacy that continues to define social, political, and economic relations among humans and between human and other-than-human life in the region.

Coloniality also shapes the kinds of knowledge that count as knowledge in the contemporary academic industry, manifesting, among other ways, as a denigration of forms of knowledge that do not emerge from argument or that cannot be understood or fully expressed through argumentative prose.

In this dissertation, I use theories of marronage and erotic agency not to deconstruct a contemporary colonial space, but to craft a different world. Responding to the work of Octavia Butler, Ursula K. Le Guin, N. K. Jemisin, Janelle Monáe, and Rebecca Sugar, I create narrative vignettes that speculate about how marronage and erotic agency, when enacted by colonized peoples, might support the work of decolonizing our thinking, being, and relating in the world. Through written fragments and sound recordings, I invite an emotional and multisensory engagement with the complexities of coloniality. Further, I chart the process that took me from proposing to completing this project, discussing what I was and was not able to achieve. By opening the dissertation-making process for scrutiny, I offer this project as a resource for anyone interested in making multimodal research that does not hinge on forms of knowledge derived from or expressed through arguments.

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