Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Marina Levina


This dissertation analyzes the role of violence as constitutive and integral to border experiences. I focus on my lived experiences through transnational interaction with borders as analytical texts through which I realize that I am and have always been branded a Black man. I analyze the role of colonial cartography in the construction of the racialized body in Half of A Yellow Sun (2013) by relating the contrived mapping of Africa as symbolic of the mapping of race on to the black body. I also analyze the fixity of the colonial gaze in The Last King of Scotland (2006), focusing on the role of diplomatic corps in post-independence Africa, and the role of Western media in propagating and perpetuating through media representations, the divide between Africa and the West. Through autobiographical narratives, I highlight the contingency of the border in spaces marked by the white gaze. I propose the term the epidermal border as a theoretical framework to describe the bridge that links my border experiences in Uganda and the US. Conceptually, it provides a vantage point for bridging Africa and its diaspora under the shared condition of Blackness. Drawing on border rhetorics, postcolonial theory, and surveillance theory, I argue that borders are documents of violence, and that there are no borders without violence. For bodies of African descent, the epidermal border marks the permanence of violence that is always lurking in spaces marked by the white gaze. I lean heavily on the work of W.E. B Dubois, Frantz Fanon and Simone Browne, whose concepts of the color line, violence, branding, and luminosity are foundational to my thinking on Afro-diasporic bodies and border experiences.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest