Susan J. Erenrich, Ph.D. is a 2010 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dissertation Committee

  • Jon Wergin, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Laurien Alexandre, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Philomena Essed, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Stewart Burns, Ph.D., External Reader


social change, social justice, popular education, portraiture, qualitative, arts, creating dangerously, transformational leadership, history, activism, social movements, dissent, liberation, narrative, civic engagement, community organizing, rebellion

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On December 14, 1957, after winning the Nobel Prize for literature, Albert Camus challenged artists attending a lecture at the University of Uppsala in Sweden to create dangerously. Even though Camus never defined what he meant by his charge, throughout history, artists involved in movements of protest, resistance, and liberation have answered Camus’ call. Quite often, the consequences were costly, resulting in imprisonment, censorship, torture, and death. This dissertation examines the question of what it means to create dangerously by using Camus’ challenge to artists as a starting point. The study then turns its attention to two artists, Augusto Boal and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, who were detained, tortured, and imprisoned because they boldly defied the dominant power structure. Lastly, the research focuses on a group of front-line artists, the Mississippi Caravan of Music, involved in the contemporary struggle for civil rights in the United States. The individual artists and the artist group represented in the dissertation are from different parts of the globe and were involved in acts of rebellion, resistance, revolt, or revolution at varying points in history. Portraiture, a form of narrative inquiry, is the research method employed in the dissertation. The qualitative approach pioneered by Harvard scholar Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot “combines systematic, empirical description with aesthetic expression, blending art and science, humanistic sensibilities and scientific rigor” (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, p. 3). The dissertation extrapolates concepts from the traditional literature and expands the boundaries to make room for a more integrated understanding of social change, art, and transformational leadership from the bottom up. Artists and artist groups who create dangerously is an area often overlooked in the field. The electronic version of this dissertation is at OhioLINK ETD Center,