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ERIC Number: ED546529
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 252
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2676-8013-6
Spaces Where We Know Who to Be: Black Girls Reading Reflections of and Speaking for Themselves
Harris-Scott, Lynnette H.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
This study explores how academically talented Black girls read, write and narrate their lived experiences while attending a predominantly white, selective admissions urban high school. Black girls in these types of settings often experience feelings of isolation and silencing, unjust treatment, and underrepresentation in the curriculum (Carter, 2006; Fordham, 1996; Henry, 1998b; Pastor et al., 1996; Rollock, 2007). Drawing from a year-long qualitative study on the development and enactment of a special interest class, this narrative inquiry documents the co-construction of this class, or safe space, with eight young women. Drawing upon Critical Race Theory, Black feminist epistemology, and New Literacy Studies, the study addresses questions of agency, social injustice, and under/representation by exploring with Black girls the counternarratives of their lived experiences. This study describes how young Black women used discursive and literacy practices to transgress common notions of Black girlhood, as well as to sort out queries into their own identities. In this setting, all of the students were academically gifted, so the "usual" issues often facing Black students in schools in terms of the achievement gap were absent. Instead, the participants in this study explored issues of racial tensions in and out of school. The data in this study suggest that the participants have feelings of invisibility in school, experience social injustice both in and out of school, and struggle with complex relationships with other Black kids. Additionally, the space that was created within the context of this study was used by the participants not only to work on their individual identities, but also to help each other sort through some of the disruptions they were facing in their common experiences. The stories of the participants in this study offer new perspectives on socially just educational practices for gifted Black girls. They also suggest a number of opportunities and challenges associated with addressing racial tensions in schools, and confirm the importance of capitalizing on students' epistemologies. This study examines possibilities for reimagining what it would mean to have multiracial educational practices that respect and build on the complexities of the concept of diversity. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A