PhD Dissertation Proposal


Through colonialism, slavery, and capitalism, European and Euro-American men have created socioeconomic and political systems that dehumanize, traumatize, and exploit Black women’s bodies.[1] Black women have been ravaged by physical, spiritual, and psychological wounds inflicted by racial and sexual oppression rooted in the commodification of our bodies.[2]As a result, we are often dispirited, energetically dismembered from our physical body, a site of a tremendous amount of generational pain and suffering.[3]

Unresolved injury of the spirit, or soul wounds[4]leave embodied traumatic imprints that devitalize our internal and external environments, which can directly affect the psycho-spiritual, psychological, and physiological development of our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and beyond.[5]Soul wounds live and breathe in our bodies and are silently transmitted to the “next generation like an undetected disease.”[6]

In this discourse, I use intergenerational and historical trauma theories to examine the trauma effects of unhealed soul wounds that fester in Black female bodies, and how they are unconsciously passed on to successive generations to uncover methods for intergenerational healing. I posit that embodied spiritualities thwart the transmission of trauma by transmuting trauma retentions and creating harmonious psychosocial and biosocial environments conducive for intergenerational healing. In addition, embodied spiritualities have the power and potential to restore and activate the womb space, our sacred energetic center of creativity and creation.[7] The energetic dismemberment of Black women’s bodies must be acknowledged and solutions explored that 1) re-member our bodies:[8]2) reclaim our power; 3) release the bondage of trauma; and 4) revitalize the life-force of past, present, and future generations.

If you are interested in reading the proposal in its entirety, please email me: kjtraumastudy@gmail.com 


[1]. See Akeia A. F. Benard, “Colonizing Black Female Bodies within Patriarchal Capitalism: Feminist and Human Rights Perspectives,” Sexualization, Media & Society (October- December, 2016): 1-11; Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (New York: Routledge, 1990); M. Shawn Copeland, “Body, Representation and Black Religious Discourse,” in Postcolonialism, Feminism, and Religious Discourse, ed. Laura Donaldson and Kwok Pui-lan (New York: Routledge, 2001): 180-198; Angela Y. Davis, Women, Race & Class (New York: Random House, 1981); Dorothy Roberts, Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (New York: Vintage Books, 1997).

[2]. M. Shawn Copeland, “Body, Representation and Black Religious Discourse,” in Postcolonialism, Feminism, and Religious Discourse, ed. Laura Donaldson and Kwok Pui-lan (New York: Routledge, 2001), 182.

[3]. Collins, Black Feminist Thought, 1990; Cynthia B. Dillard, Learning to (Re)Member the Things We’ve Learned to Forget (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2012).

[4]. Eduardo Duran, Healing the Soul Wound: Trauma-Informed Counseling for Indigenous Communities (New York: Teachers College Press, 2019), 10.

[5]. For discussions on the intergenerational transmission of soul wounds see Duran, Healing the Soul Wound, 2019; Richard C. Francis, Epigenetics: How Environment Shapes our Genes (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2011); Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies (Las Vegas: Central Recovery Press, 2017); and Gabriele schwab, Haunting Legacies: Violent Histories and Transgenerational Trauma (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010).

[6]. schwab, Haunting Legacies, 3.

[7]. Queen Afua, Sacred Woman: A Guide to Healing the Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit (New York: Random House Publishing Group, 2000), 32.

[8]. Dillard, Learning to (Re)Member, ix.

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