Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor in Philosophy in International Conflict Management


School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Jesse Benjamin, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Geoffroy de Laforcade, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Samuel Livingston, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Seneca Vaught, Ph.D.


This dissertation delves into the concepts of Mental Inertia and Mentacide within African American and Native American communities in the Southeastern United States by employing thematic content analysis of oral history transcripts. Focused on the Black Belt states of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, the study aims to discern the presence of these phenomena in the narratives of individuals from historically colonized backgrounds. Findings indicate that Mental Inertia notably observed through the sub-categorical indicators of Thinking Clichés and Physical Turmoil, is widespread across oral history transcripts, occasionally accompanied by instances of Thought Paralysis. Occurrences of Thinking Clichés and Physical Turmoil within the transcripts appear to demonstrate an inversely correlated relationship. Although connections between Mental Inertia and Mentacide are implied, a definitive linear trajectory remains elusive and will require future analysis. The study prompts reflections on the enduring repercussions of colonialism on cultural identities and mental well-being, underscoring the imperative for further inquiry into these intricate dynamics. Through the analysis of oral history narratives, this research seeks to offer insights into the lived experiences of African American and Native American communities, shedding light on their resilience and coping mechanisms amidst systemic challenges. Ultimately, the study contributes to a deeper comprehension of post-colonial societies, issues pertinent to decoloniality, and the reclamation of agency within marginalized populations.

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