Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Communication
This dissertation is a critical performance-centered approach to resisting the dominant narratives that dehumanize and criminalize Black youth and perpetuate the School to Prison Pipeline in America. This approach engages the persons, perspectives, and positionalities of Black youth and their community members en route to articulating, analyzing, and addressing their experience with systemic criminalization and dehumanization. To this end, the Pipelines to Pathways project executes and examines a performance-centered process of antiracist analysis, artistry, and action for, and with, Black youth and their community members. The examination of this process is framed by critical race theory, critical interpersonal communication theory, the communication theory of identity, Goffman’s dramaturgical model of communication, and theories of critical performance and pedagogy. This examinations is based upon two case studies: (1) a performance-centered youth participatory action research project with a group of Black youth in Fayetteville, North Carolina and (2) a performed autoethnography project based upon my own experience as a Black caregiver. This project qualitatively examines the performance process at work and exhibits its power to create spaces and generate intentional practices for Black youth and their community members to explore, examine, and engage in antiracist attitudes and actions that reframe and reclaim the inherent positivity, dignity, and agency of Black youth identities.