Date of Award

December 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African American Studies


Herbert Ruffin


Drag, Film, Mammy, Pan Africanism, Representations, Slavery

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


This thesis examines the signification of the mammy stereotype in the 21st century. The performances of Martin Lawrence, Tyler Perry and Eddie Murphy’s as mammies in drag are the selected texts for the project. By presenting the many mammy representations over the past 150 years, I outline the ways in which the mammy stereotype dehumanizes black women and hinders the Pan African agenda. Through the commodification of the mammy stereotype it has been de-historicized and thus separated from its beginnings as a part of the white supremacist imagination. Discourse analysis is used to analyze its meaning and signification while black feminist theory and Pan Africanism are used as lenses to identify the systemic oppressions at work within the stereotype that help to demean and the modify the behavior of black women.


Open Access



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