Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis


Africana Studies

First Advisor

Megan H. Glick




The purpose of this thesis is to explore how racial and sexual identities intersect in sadomasochism in relation to historical understandings of Black women's sexual identities and social positions. My specific research question is: Can Black women reclaim their sexual' agency from colonial history and assert that agency through sadomasochism? Because the research and analysis focus on the interactions of heterosexual Black women with White men, it is important to consider why and how Black women interact sexually with White men, to what extent sadomasochism informs the sexual interaction, and if and how race is a significant factor in the interracial sadomasochistic encounter. These considerations are important because they give insight into how Black women establish and assert their sexual agency-whether that is through choosing a particular partner, how they negotiate a scene, whether racial difference is influential, or some combination of these and/or other factors.