Dana Patterson (Committee Member), Tracy Snipe (Advisor), Jennifer Subban (Committee Member)
Master of Humanities (MHum)
While the Sea Islands have captured the interest of scholars and artists, especially since Zora Neale Hurston's groundbreaking novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), this thesis provides a historiography of Africanisms and religious expressions explored in Gullah literary traditions within African-American women's fiction, specifically with regards to the works of Julie Dash and Tina McElroy Ansa. Following Hurston's example, during the 1980s Toni Morrison, Toni Cade Bambara and Paule Marshall further laid the groundwork for writers to signify upon. This qualitative study of Dash's 1991 film and novel Daughters of the Dust (1997) along with Ansa's novels Baby of the Family (1989) and The Hand I Fan With (1996) highlight sources these women and visual artists like Johnathan Green creatively draw upon to construct narratives while exploring related motifs. These works reflect the growing interest in the southern landscape with regards to the Sea Islands and Geechee cultural traditions.
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