Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.
Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.
Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.
Author ORCID Identifier
Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Dr. Korina Jocson
Dr. Jonique Childs
Dr. Amanda Walker Johnson
The dissertation explores the schooling experiences of Black girls attending a predominantly white, elite, all-girls private school. As a project of witnessing and drawing from Black feminist theory, I highlight and draw attention to the racialization that Black girls experienced at EBS and the ways they navigated and negotiated these experiences both individually and collectively. I unpack some of the nuances that emerged through bearing witness to their lived culture and encounters within the students of color (SOC) affinity space. The principal research questions for this study are: How do Black girls navigate and negotiate racialized experiences in a predominantly white, elite, private school? In what ways are Black girls responding to these racialized experiences? How does the engagement with arts-based literacies in SOC shape Black girls’ social and academic trajectories in private schools? Accomplished through a collection of personal and cultural artifacts, field-notes, semi-interviews and narrative analysis, Black girls in this case study storied an otherwise--talking back to power structures that deemed them unknowledgeable. The findings suggest that Black girls engaged in the SOC affinity group as a space to witness humanness. I situate my examination of Black girls and their lived cultural representations in third space as part of my critical contribution to Black girlhood studies.
 To center the voices of Black girls, I do not capitalize “white” throughout this dissertation.
Smith Jean-Denis, Alisha L., "Rupture and Resistance in Third Space: Examining Black Girls’ Schooling Experiences at a Private Elite School" (2021). Doctoral Dissertations. 2221.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Available for download on Saturday, May 14, 2022