I came to this project from several different angles and avenues, differ-
ent mediums, genres, and theoretical points of view. All have had their
human guideposts and beacons. All have brought me to this place. The Re-
peating Body began in the African American Studies Department and the
American Studies Program at Yale University. My dissertation commit-
tee had much to contend with as I moved closer and closer to the end of
the project. Their grace and consistency made a difficult task that much
easier. My dissertation chair, Robert Burns Stepto, is the epitome of ex-
ceptional humanity: a wonderful scholar, a probing and exacting adviser,
an exuberant teacher, and a flawless writer. He gave me poetry at Yale,
and I am not soon to forget what that means. The scope of this project
is a testament to his interest, patience, and dedication. Laura Wexler’s
insight and attention to detail allowed the project to reach its fullness.
Matthew Frye Jacobson provided the steady pace and encouragement I
needed and will always remember. I thank you all for your patience and
hope this book is a small token of my appreciation.
My time at Yale brought me many gifts, most in the form of friend-
ship and collaboration. Brandi Hughes, Kaysha Corinealdi, Lyneise Wil-
liams, Nicole N. Ivy, Robin Bernstein, Qiana Robinson- Whitted, Heather
Andrea Williams, Sarah Haley, Courtney J. Martin, Tisha Hooks, Laura
Grappo, Dara Orenstein, Megan Glick, Erin D. Chapman, Lara Langer
Cohen, Shana L. Redmond, and G. Melíssa Garcia—I want to thank you
for your individual and collective brilliance, the multiple times you have
each saved me from myself, and the future we have before us. My conver-
sations with Erin D. Chapman consist of both laughter and intense con-
cern for the future of black feminism in the academy. I want to thank her
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