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Dissertation Title:

Transforming Rage: Revisioning the Myth of the Angry Black Woman


Sherrie Sims Allen

Date, Time & Place:

May 4, 2015 at 3:00 pm
Barrett Center, Ladera Lane Campus


This research study offers a revisioning of Black women’s rage, which is typically viewed as a destructive emotion offering no value to modern society. Through the use of multiple methodologies—alchemical hermeneutics, literary textual analysis, and a focus group—and examined through the theoretical lenses of depth psychology, mythology, Black feminism, and Black women’s literature, this dissertation presents a new understanding of rage, freeing it from the shadows of the ideal feminine, cracking it open, and presenting it as an agent for personal and global change.
Scholars have examined rage as an emotional expression; however, minimal psychological research has focused on the rage felt specifically by Black women. Depth psychologists must look deeper at rage as a result of racism, sexism, patriarchy, and white privilege, and the experiences of Black women in particular and how their experiences are expressed or silenced. This study uses a focus group as a research tool to witness the lived experiences of Black women and re-vision rage’s manifestation as useful.
The study employs Singer and Kimbles’ theories of the cultural complex and the myth of invisibility, which evolved from C. G. Jung’s theory of complexes. Culminating with the literary artistry of Black women’s literature by authors hooks, Morrison, and Naylor, this study argues that “the systematic devaluation of black womanhood” (hooks, 1981) has taken its toll on the potentiality of all Black women born in Western societies.
The angry Black woman is a myth that continues to be rehashed using stereotypes to perpetuate the oppression of Black womanhood. Depth psychology offers an opportunity to see through the stereotypes and into the experience of Black feminine rage.


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  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology, Track K, 2008
  • Chair: Dr. Jennifer Selig
  • Reader: Dr. Maurice Stevens
  • External Reader: Dr. Alexis Gumbs
  • Keywords: Rage, Anger, Racism, Sexism, White Privilege, Transformation, Cultural Complex, Black Feminism, Black Women’s Studies, Mythology