Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Michelle Fine

Committee Members

Michelle Billies

Bianca Williams

Tamara Butler

Aimee Cox

Subject Categories

Social Psychology


Blackgirl, Love, Freedom, Affect, Space, Time, Geography


This is a love story from one Blackgirl (Boylorn, 2016) from St. Louis to Blackgirls in Philadelphia. It radically traces love across plots of race, gender, time, space, and affect. This text will provide non-conventional maps for how Blackgirls, young and old, have been memory keepers, cultural workers, love pillars, freedom mappers, and actors since before the inception of American slavery (Brown, 2013; Hartman, 2019; Hooks, 1993; Nash, 2013; Walker, 2004). Specifically, it will argue that we have problematized the settler-colonial project of mapping (McKittrick, 2006) and moved away from viewing space as an entrenchment of empire. Further, we have spatially conceived of natural and built environments as a strategy towards fostering sacred safety and deep social connections (Okafor, 2018). Blackgirls' creative, conceptual, and material placemaking (Hunter et al, 2016) illustrates liminality that allows us to (re)member, ritualize, and (re)imagine. While we are not typically viewed as curators, we have a rich history of magically (re)claiming some of the most historically violent spaces, including farmland, homes, and even our very own kitchens, and converting them into sites within which we locate healing. Blackgirls practice love evangelism (This is Signified, 2012) through ecowomanism, sacred archiving, and spatial alchemy. The major argument for this dissertation is that radical love is a regular praxis through which Blackgirls create spaces that center themselves and their community. My dissertation seeks to serve as a remedy for recognition, a written corrective, and a meaningful, radical addendum.