(re)presenting ourselves: creating an "oppositional black aesthetic" at a predominantly white institution: a photovoice project

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University of Alabama Libraries

Black female students that attend predominantly white institutions face many challenges both academically and personally. While there is a growing body of literature related to the different factors that impact the success of Black female students at PWIs, there is a need for in-depth qualitative studies that focuses on the daily lived experiences of Black female students. Engaging Black female students in the creation of a critical space or “oppositional Black aesthetic” (bell hooks, 1995) is important for two reasons. First, it places an emphasis on the subjective nature of women’s empowerment through the use of a modified photovoice approach. Photovoice allows participants to use photographs in order to (re)present themselves and their experiences on their own terms. Second, taking photographs and combining them with personal narratives or stories allows offers Black female students at PWIs the opportunity to create counterhegemonic images that promote the new ways of knowing, thinking and being which is instrumental in gaining a better understanding of the lived experiences of Black women that attend PWIs.

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Educational leadership