Date of Award

9-1-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department of Humanities

First Advisor

Dr. Mary A. Twining

Second Advisor

Dr. Josephine Bradley

Third Advisor

Dr. K.B.S. Barrow

Abstract

This study examines the active presence of folk healing medicines in selected urban, African-American women’s pregnancy experiences. These experiences were found be collectively recognized as gynecological resistance. Furthermore, this study sought to clarify the epistemological frame of knowledge constructed within the African- American women’s cultural base, which motivates, influences, and constructs rationales for pregnancy choices, decision making, and the pursuits of resistance.

This study was based on the premise that some African-American women continue to resist control of their reproduction, by empowering themselves using a variety of folk medicines practices. A case study analysis approach was used to analyze data gathered and it reflected that the collective reproductive resistances stemmed from a shared memory known as the African Ancestral Maternal Memory.

The researcher found that selected urban African-American women utilized several forms of folk healing medicines to gynecologically resist control of their reproduction. The conclusions drawn from the findings suggest that the need for continued gynecological resistance by African-American women was not only rooted in the reproductive oppression of enslaved African women, but correlated with the systematic gynecological control of urban African-American women.