Year of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

MFA: Dance

Directing Professor

Jeffery Bullock


The United States was founded during and built through the use of American chattel slavery, a form of slavery which involved hypodescent, was usually lifelong, and was based on the concept of Black inferiority. Because of the circumstances of this country’s creation, the United States cannot exist separately from the long-term effects and legacy of enslavement, thus resulting in the condition of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (PTSS). PTSS is a theory founded by psychologist Dr. Joy DeGruy which posits that the long-term suffering of Africans and African-Americans under slavery, as well as ongoing anti-Black oppression has resulted in intergenerational trauma that exists in the present day. Because many of the symptoms of PTSS impact the relationships between Black mothers and their children, and because enslaved Black women faced abuse during slavery rooted in misogynoir, or gendered racism against Black women, my thesis presents research on the symptoms of PTSS that affect Black mother-daughter relationships in America, including but not limited to engagement in respectability politics, a culture of dissemblance, internalized misogynoir, and child abuse. Further, I identify methods of healing Black mother-daughter relationships, including establishing accountability networks, storytelling, prioritizing each other’s experiences, and committing to healthier methods of communication, problem solving, and parenting.

Performance Access Statement

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