Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African-American Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Lia T. Bascomb

Second Advisor

Dr. Chamara Kwakye

Third Advisor

Dr. Sarita Davis


Black girls inhabit bodies marked as hypersexual, ungendered, and undisciplined and have a particular orientation to the compounded everyday violence of hegemonic patriarchy, anti-Black racism, and capitalism. This study analyzes the possibilities for Black girlhood to transgress power structures through the performance of sexuality to curate, define, and name their girlhood for themselves. Research questions include: How is sexuality used by Black girls to create and transgress power? What aspects of sexual surveillance impact the embodiment of sexuality? Using Black feminist theory, this thesis recognizes Black girlhood as an ever-evolving experience and spatiotemporal realm existing in the lived memory of self-identified Black girls beyond childhood. My sample size includes eight self-identifying Black girls ages 18-40, recruited via purposive sampling in the Southern United States. The methodology integrates participatory technology of photovoice in a focus-group activity and in-depth semi-structured interviews to capture the full complexities of Black girlhood.


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