Defense Date

2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Media, Art, and Text

First Advisor

Dr. Archana Pathak

Abstract

ABSTRACT

BLACK FEMINIST THOUGHT, INTERRUPTED

DISSECTING THE VOICE OF BLACK FEMINISTS IN THE BLOGOSPHERE AND THEIR ENGAGEMENT WITH PLATFORM AFFORDANCES

By Dawn G. Johnson, Ph.D

A dissertation submitted to the faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Media, Art, and Text Department in the College of Humanities and Sciences

Virginia Commonwealth University, 2021

Dissertation Chair: Dr. Archana Pathak, Associate Professor, Dept. of Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University

Black women that have long searched for spaces to be creative and have voice due to their constant exclusion from mainstream media. In response to this exclusion, black feminists actively formed spaces outside of traditional media by developing black feminist blogs designed to empower the black feminist community and further the advancement of Black Feminist Thought and liberatory theory. This research examined the problem of whether the blogosphere has lived up to its promise of allowing black feminist engagement and dissemination of information, or whether the online arena (platform) represented a microcosm of societal dominant power structures and furthered white oppression and marginalization of black women. Applying Andre’ Brock’s Critical Technocultural Discourse Analysis (CTDA) as methodology, this research explored whether online platforms afford or constrain black feminist voice. Brock’s CTDA insisted on a multi-layered approach to theories of technology, one that captured diversity in culture and demographics and how these moments of diversity intersected with the technological hardware and code.

Through examining a purposive sample of 30 blogs from three black feminist blog sites, Crunk Feminist Collective, For Harriet and The Feminist Wire, the results provided that the blog spaces provided a location for the empowerment of black womanhood and did not directly constrain black feminist voice. But rather, black feminist blog writers actively resisted white discourse and focused on self-love and the act of healing the black community, and thus the blog platforms served as a true space of refuge. Yet, voice was indirectly impacted, because black feminist bloggers resisted addressing white oppression, and thus represented a missed opportunity and an attempt to play it safe.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

2-17-2021

 
 
 
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