Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Moving Image Studies

First Advisor

Ethan Tussey, PhD

Second Advisor

Jennifer Barker

Third Advisor

Greg Smith

Fourth Advisor

Lynee Gaillet

Fifth Advisor

Aku Kadogo


The Radical Archive of Performance: From Acts to Archives in Black Preservation explores issues of the archive and preservation in Black performance culture. This research project asks: if today’s professional archival and preservation practices are adequate for the identification, preservation, and accessibility of Black epistemologies materialized through performance; how strategies of resistance and improvisation work with or against notions of access and preservation in archival science; and if Tyler Perry Studios can be considered a radical archive of Black performance. After Cedric Robinson, Saidiya Hartman, and Fred Moten, and in the spirit of the Black Radical Tradition, I argue improvisation, discordance, and trace as the conceptual reserves of Black epistemologies and demonstrates radical acts of preservation in performance. This project is conceptualized as a way of thinking through archival and curatorial challenges when working with

Black performance immateriality and ephemerality. Using archival science, production studies, and performance theory, I illustrate ways Black production cultures, from art exhibitions to Film/TV productions, navigate issues of materiality in the archive. In order to investigate the quality of preservation of Black epistemologies in contemporary Black performance, I use Tyler Perry Studios production culture as a case study to examine objects, rituals, and spaces using a Media Industries method.


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