Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Religious Studies, Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion

First Advisor

Miguel A. De La Torre

Second Advisor

Debora Ortega

Third Advisor

Michele Hanna


African American, Criminal justice, Oppression, Postcolonial, Religion, Womanist


The Black female experience in the United States is a colonized existence. This project’s analysis is specific to the North American U.S. geographic space and is not a diasporic project. Black women suffered from the greatest increase in the percentage of inmates incarcerated for drug offenses in the 1980’s and 1990’s which is the period of criminal justice policy formation and implementation on which this project is focused.

This project is uniquely situated in the overlap between womanist ethics and postcolonial feminist imagination and extends scholarship in both discourses by showing that there is an interwoven line between the colonial-to-contemporary tapestry of U.S. colonial systems that have intentionally acted as colonizing apparatus of Black women to the disproportionate number of Black women in the prison industrial complex today. Timely in Third Wave womanist discourse and postcolonial studies discourse, “Dialogical Offense” demonstrates how a postcolonial womanist methodology can be utilized as an interdisciplinary lens in which to view multiple oppressions in a very specific way; when U.S. internal colonization is named as the primary oppression of Black women that constructed the hierarchal taxonomies of race, class, and gender in the U.S.

Dialogical Offense” was created to give recognizable collective nomenclature to historic and contemporary academic scholarship that scholars-on-the margins have used, will continue to use, and that other scholars-on-the-margins can build upon, to resist Eurocentric and colonizing academic discourse as normative. The use the adjective “dialogical” is intentional to describe the noun “offense”- the act itself, versus the verb of “doing of the act” which can be described as a decolonial act of resistance. Naming “offense” as a noun and using the adjective “dialogical” to describe a breach of academic “law,” “discourse,” or “canon” is what Aimé Césaire called “thingification,” or the act of naming the “action” as a decolonial act. This decolonial act of naming “the thing,” decenters Eurocentric academic hegemony and allows colonized subjects to dialogue anew- on “the colonized” terms and in “their” language. The creation of this new nomenclature is central to the project’s uniqueness. The creation of the nomenclature “Dialogical Offense” is itself a “Dialogical Offense.”

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

April Michelle Woodson


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

340 p.


Women's studies, African American studies, Public policy