Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)


School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name



African-American Studies

First Advisor

Professor Daniel Black


This study examines the use of Kongo cosmology as a theory of reading African-American literature. By analyzing the philosophical modes and belief systems of the Bakongo people, a general view of their cosmos is constructed and establishes the Kongo cosmogram used as the basis of this study.

The community, crossroads, elders, and circularity of life all prove to be crucial elements in the Kongo cosmogram. These elements all have respective roles in the operation of the Kongo cosmogram as a literary theory.

As the focus shifts from Africa to America, a study of how the Kongo cosmogram is disrupted by the Maafa and reconstructed in America via plantation existence is necessary to establish the history and function of the cosmogram in America.

Finally, the Kongo cosmogram is applied as a literary theory, using Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun" and James Baldwin's Go Tell It on the Mountain. These texts manifest the elements of the Kongo cosmogram and demonstrate its applicability as a literary theory.

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