Doctoral Dissertation Defense LaToya Elise Eaves

Event information
Venue:MMC, SIPA 502/3


Florida International University University Graduate School

Doctoral Dissertation Defense


Spatial Articulations of Race, Desire, and Belonging in Western North Carolina

by LaToya Elise Eaves

The sociocultural mythology of the South homogenizes it as a site of abjection. To counter the regionalist discourse, the dissertation intersects queer sexualities with gender and race and focuses on exploring identity and spatial formation among Black lesbian and queer women. The dissertation seeks to challenge the monolith of the South and place the region into multiple contexts and to “map” Black geographies through an intentional intersectional account of Black queer women. This dissertation utilizes qualitative research methods to ascertain understandings of lived experiences in the production of space. The dissertation argues that an idea of “Progress” has been indoctrinated as a synonym for the lgbtq civil rights movement and subsequently provides an analysis of progress discourses and queer sexualities and political campaigns of equality in the South. Analyses revealed different ways to situate progress utilizing the public contributions of three Black women interviewed for this dissertation. Moreover, the dissertation utilizes six Black queer and lesbian women to explain the multifarious nature of identities and their construction in place. Black queer and lesbian women produce spaces that deconstruct the normativity of stasis and physicality, and the dissertation explores the consequential realities of being a body in space. These consequences are particularly highlighted in the dissertation by discussions of the processes of racialization in the bounded and unbounded senses of space and place and the impacts of religious institutions, specifically Christianity.

The dissertation concluded that no space is without complication. Other considerations should be made in the advancement of alleviating oppression deeply embedded in United States landscapes. Black women’s geographies offer epistemological and ontological renderings that enrich analyses of space, place, and landscape. The dissertation also concludes that Black women’s bodies represent sites for the production of geographic knowledge through narrating their spaces of material trajectories of interlocking, multiscalar lives.

Date: July 1, 2014
Department: Global and Sociocultural Studies
Time: 10:00 am
Major Professor: Gail M. Hollander
Place: SIPA 502/503