American University
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What Sociology Teaches Us About Black Women

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posted on 2023-08-04, 16:22 authored by Rebekah Dianne Israel

My thesis examines the ways in which Black womanhood is constructed in introductory sociology textbooks. My research adds to the research on the depictions of Black women in sociology textbooks by looking beyond underrepresentation and marginalization to examining how the textbooks are representing Black women and thus constructing the meaning of Black womanhood. My sample consists of 7 best-selling introductory sociology textbooks that are currently used in introductory courses at 5 different universities in the D.C. Metro Area. I used qualitative textual analysis to understand the ways in which the texts construct meaning through the use of language and other discursive practices. My findings reveal that sociology textbooks reinforce hegemonic power through the lack of representation of Black women, as well as constant comparisons Black women's experiences to the white "norm." My analysis also indicates that textbooks can resist those hegemonic representations by contextualizing inequalities and including research and analyses from Black scholars.



American University


Degree awarded: M.A. Sociology. American University


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