An Autoethnographic Reading of Djanet Sears’s The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God

Naila Keleta-Mae


Djanet Sears’s play The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God offers a generous opportunity for the careful contemplation of the intersections between Christianity, motherhood, and blackness in Canada—a topic hitherto unexamined in scholarship about Sears’s plays. The protagonist’s search for God is a personal exploration of self in relation to each of these topics; similarly, Naila Keleta-Mae draws from the analysis of self through the article’s incorporation of methodologies employed in autobiographical performance and autoethnographic research. Specifically, the author maps her examination of Sears’s play through her own body and experiences of Christianity, motherhood, and blackness in Canada. One of the key ways that this article seeks to differ itself from traditional Canadian scholarship is by foregrounding the explicit ways the scholar’s topic of inquiry intersects with her/his/their personal lived experience. To some extent, this article is about visibility and transparency—it is an effort to make equally visible the preoccupations of the scholar in her/his/their analysis of a subject matter—in this specific case it is the unambiguous articulation of why Keleta-Mae cares about Sears’s play.

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