Date of Award

5-9-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Religious Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Monique Moultrie

Second Advisor

Dr. Lia Bascomb

Third Advisor

Dr. Nadia Latif

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Kathryn McClymond

Abstract

African American women who reach back into their (known or perceived) African ancestry, retrieve the rituals of that heritage (through African dance), and transform them to facilitate healing for their present communities, are engaging a process that I define as “Sankofa Healing.” Focusing on the work of Katherine Dunham as an exemplar, I will weave through her journey of retrieving and transforming African dance into ritual, and highlight what I found to be key components of this transformative process. Drawing upon Ronald Grimes’ ritual theory, and engaging the womanist body of thought, I will explore the impact that the process has on African-American women and their communities.

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