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Tiara JacksonMellon Sawyer Dissertation Fellow


B.A. Psychology and Multicultural Trauma, Mills College '15


Tiara Raven Marie Jackson (femme, she, they) is an experimental artist and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at Emory University. Jackson is a sensuous gatherer of archival remains whose scholarly and creative work centers Black Femmes, conjuring, and ancestral veneration. Jackson employs Black Feminist Thought against the grain of psychoanalysis to think through Black mysticism and Black Death and their repetitions. Black Bay Area born and raised Jackson now lives and loves in New Orleans, pondering ancestral relations across time and space.


"Black Femme Remains" is a sensual and sentient engagement with saints, spirits, and black femmes' performances and rituals. It is an exploration, experimentation, and collaboration with bodies and documents left behind, tarrying with what is leftover and what kind of resonances those remains have when someone encounters them. This project is an interdisciplinary and anti-disciplinary gesture of altar building as an engagement with archival material depicting 19th and 20th-century Spiritualists in New Orleans. Centering The dead and dying in literature, visual art, and archival material, "Black Femme Remains" also demonstrates how Black women and femme cultural producers make altars with their work. Compiled together, "Black Femme Remains" is a blueprint for being with the dead and coming to know oneself as spirit. Concurrently, this dissertation is a bodily engagement with Black Feminist Theory against the grain of psychoanalysis to destabilize notions of sanity and honor the alchemy of madness when faced with death.  


Major Interests

Black Feminists Theory and Psychoanalysis. Black spirituality, performance, and cultural production as an insistence on everyday living despite the looming presence of Black Death.

Working Languages

English, French, Spanish