Reclaiming Black Beledi: Race, Wellness, And Online Community
Velazquez, Maria Inez
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In this dissertation, I analyze love, affect, and embodiment online. I specifically focus on belly dance because of its history as a kind of conscious and public laboring on the self. By situating belly dance as an imperial legacy of U.S. military engagement in the Middle East, I unveil its critical utility to bloggers’ discussion of wellness, self-care, and the affective consequences of living within imperialist and racist societies. I conclude by introducing the concept of a digital praxis of love, paying particular attention to digital black feminisms, wellness blogging, and dance. This project draws its exegesis from current scholarship on corporeal, physical feminisms, and digital feminisms in order to point towards a definition of praxis online as incorporating critical reflection, critical action, and everyday public life. This exploratory dissertation incorporates a variety of methodologies in order to investigate the movement of wellness, self-care, and critique as these concepts move through overlapping knowledge worlds, spaces, and sites of consumption. By doing so, this dissertation highlights the connections between conversations about wellness and conversations about politics. Analyzing these connections offers an important intervention in wellness studies, the digital humanities, and American studies by illustrating the role wellness (and its digital objects) plays in performing citizenship, group membership, and social justice activism.