FINDING LOVE IN A HOPELESS PLACE: BLACK GIRLS’ TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY SELF-LOVE LITERACIES
Griffin, Autumn Adia
Turner, Jennifer D
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This dissertation analyzes how nine adolescent Black girls enact their twenty-first century literacies (i.e. critical media, multimodal, and digital literacies) to develop and depict self-love. Building on bell hooks’s (2000) definition, I define self-love here as the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing, celebrating, preserving, or protecting one’s own or another’s physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual growth. Through the adoption of Black Feminist, Black Girlhood, and Black Girls’ Literacies I employed qualitative case study methods and integrated Participatory Action Research methods to answer the following questions: (1) How do adolescent Black girls articulate the ways they engage their twenty-first century literacies to develop self-love? and (2) How do adolescent Black girls use their twenty-first century literacies to depict self-love multimodally through a range of artifacts? I designed and executed weekly sessions that facilitated space for the girls to talk through and write about ideas pertaining to identity and digital media with regards to self-love for adolescent Black girls. Data from these sessions include introductory survey results, interview transcripts, partner artifacts and weekly reflections. Analysis of the data indicates that with regards to question one adolescent Black girls explained that they (1) manipulate algorithms; (2) spam the internet; and (3) use digital tools to support their future goals. Further, the girls employed their twenty-first century literacies to depict self-love multimodally by engaging such design elements as color, shape, and spatial location to design a digital homeplace where they could (1) name themselves and (2) claim space in the digital. This dissertation serves two purposes: (1) it provides pedagogical tools for educators of Black girls seeking to facilitate spaces where they can develop their identities and literacies simultaneously and (2) it details the ways contemporary Black girls engage their twenty-first century literacies to extend the literacy practices of their foremothers who used literacy to negotiate and challenge public perceptions about Black women. The findings from this study contribute not only to the field of education, but also gender studies and sociology, as they offer insight on adolescent identity development and formation.