Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Carolyn Ratteray

Reader 2

Jessie Mills

Reader 3

Gabriela Bacsan

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Rights Information

2019 Meghan A Gwinn


The paper explores the complicated intersection between Black womanhood and performance by considering Josephine Baker as a site to engage the concept of “performing identity.” It discuss both the development of burlesque and the history of Josephine Baker to provide a foundation for the investigation of her early-career movement and visual practices. Then, the paper explore these hallmarks through Sherril Dodds’ “critical components of neo-burlesque striptease” writ into her book, Dancing on the Canon: Embodiments of Value in Popular Dance. The second half of this document includes a script of CATHARSIS, a self-devised solo show created to process one’s personal journey towards self-recognition amidst the (de)stabilizing effects of adoption. The show broadly explores the dynamic relationship between visibility, movement, and healing as Megh negotiates what it means to take space and be vulnerable in an environment that seeks to minimize black femme expression. The script is followed by a reflection on the initial two performances.

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