University of Illinois at Chicago
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A Mirror Image: African American Student Reflections

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posted on 2013-02-21, 00:00 authored by Candice Dawson
This dissertation is a narrative inquiry research project that focuses on the collegiate experiences of African American students at both historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and predominantly white institutions (PWIs). I look at how African American college students who engage in race or culturally specific activities, the degree to which such engagement are forms of self-affirmation, and the relationship between self-affirmation, self-determination and their definitions of success. Approaching this study qualitatively, this study focuses on student voice with narrative inquiry highlighting life experiences and grounded theory allowing for commonalities to arrive from the data. Critical race theory is then combined with narrative inquiry and grounded theory to demonstrate the role of race in the participants’ collegiate experiences. Analyzing the data with grounded theory and critical race theory, the participants’ interviews are reconstructed to demonstrate the role of the researcher in re-presenting these collegiate experiences. After creating a new theoretical framework which to approach the collegiate experiences of African American students, grounded critical race theory, the study produced six findings: 1) impact of family on self-affirmation, 2) regulation of blackness, 3) down-playing of blackness, 4) educating/managing conflict around race, 5) self-affirming in a multicultural society and self-affirmation and 6) self-determination as giving back: hero/shero.



Kumashiro, Kevin


Educational Policy Studies

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Doctoral

Committee Member

Sima, Celina Stovall, David Miller, Christopher Stephens, Nicole

Submitted date



  • en

Issue date