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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Afro-American Studies

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Britt Rusert

Second Advisor

Stephanie Shonekan

Third Advisor

Fumi Okiji

Fourth Advisor

Melissa Harris Perry

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Visual Studies | Women's Studies


In re(Sisters) of Captivity: Black Women, Bioexcess, and Technologies of Subversion, I critically examine Black women’s evasive, tactical, performative, and collaborative responses to state surveillance which I conceptualize as “technologies of subversion.” At its core, re(Sisters) of Captivity is a theoretical endeavor that envisions surveillance as a site of both captivity and possibility, in which Black women are not only confined by, but also exert defenses to the pernicious gazes on their raced, gendered, and sexualized identities. While state surveillance produces a structural and material dispossession, I suggest that Black women not only subvert, but repurpose this paradigm to reassert their bodily autonomy and claims to citizenship. Inasmuch as this is a project of reparative proportions, it is also restorative in the sense that it seeks to excavate and archive Black women’s recordings (visual, digital, literary, or otherwise) of their contentious encounters with the state. With this project, I envision Black women as resisters and record-keepers who not only confront the material contours of their subjection, but also its accompanying narratives. In this study, I primarily center Black women as record-keepers who utilize technologies of subversion to create meta-narratives that challenge what Patricia Hill Collins terms, “controlling images.” Toward this aim, I introduce the term bioexcess as a material-discursive dialectic to account for the inherent possibilities of captive female flesh produced in surveillance. As I conduct close readings of Black women’s visual, literary, and digital recordings of state surveillance, I advance bioexcess as an analytical framework that can help us to interrogate questions of power and memory-making along the axis of race, gender, and sexuality.


Available for download on Friday, September 01, 2023