Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Cultural Foundations of Education
Gretchen E. Lopez
Black Feminist Theory, Black women, Critical Race Theory, intersectional, Sister Dialogue Circles, undergraduate
This dissertation is a qualitative research project for Black undergraduate women and about Black undergraduate women. The aim of this dissertation is to lift, center, and share the lived experiences of Black undergraduate women as they reflect on the messages and memories of coming into their Blackness, their transition to and experiences while attending a PWI, and the ways in which they continue to make meaning of space. Informed by Black Feminist Theory and Critical Race Theory, the framework and methods used in this project prioritize the care of the participants and allow them to be co-creators of their own experiences. I argue throughout that there is an opportunity in more traditional higher education literature to approach the work from an interdisciplinary lens, bringing in Black Feminist Theory as a critical body of scholarship that tells us something else about Black undergraduate women from an intersectional lens. Without approaching scholarship about Black undergraduate women from an intersectional framework, we miss the voices and stories that my participants shared. At a moment when the need to heal from racial trauma was heightened, this study demonstrated the power of SOLHOT as a method and the ways in which intentional design, sustained dialogue, and an understanding of Black women allows for a beautifully unique space in higher education at PWIs. Through this dissertation, I found that Black undergraduate women (1) receive ongoing messages prior to attending college that inform them and their coming into Blackness experience, (2) are resilient despite the barriers, obstacles, and violence they encounter at their PWI, and (3) seek space that allows them to show up as authentically as possible and affirms, honors, and acknowledges them as enough. This dissertation aims to disrupt the majoritarian narratives about us, educated Black women, and invites the reader to see, hear, and feel us as whole people with deeply powerful stories and resiliency that is unmatched. As Black women, we always make lemonade when given lemons because we are innately strong, empowered, and fierce.
West, Jordan Shelby, "Lemons Into Lemonade: Black Undergraduate Women's Embodiment of Strength and Resilience at a PWI" (2018). Dissertations - ALL. 983.