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Title:Narrative inquiries of African American women in international education: Etic and emic of race
Author(s):Armstead, Dinah Gladys
Director of Research:McCarthy, Cameron R
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):McCarthy, Cameron R
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Accad, Evelyne; Haas Dyson, Anne; Trent, William T
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educational Policy Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Study Abroad
African American
Intercultural competence
Etic and Emic
Abstract:This research investigates the lived experiences of African American women in international educational contexts juxtaposed against the commonly understood journey of American students moving toward intercultural competence (IC). Based on narrative cases, I bring an evaluation of the African American woman’s study abroad experience, which presents Black subjects, paradoxically, not with an unimpeded travel experience, rather, one that is wrought by vectors of racialization in different societies. I explore their critical incidents and inquire across five dimensions: “finance, family, faculty, fear and awareness, (Washington, 1998), revealing how they overcame these barriers to accomplish intercultural competence while studying abroad. Narrative data were collected through interviews with African American women who studied in North Africa, East Asia, and Western Europe, revealing their adaptation to new societies, language acquisition, and their development of the skills, attitudes and knowledge to achieve their goals. Further exploration involved a twinning of the themes shared between the interviewees’ stories and the critical analysis of auto-ethnographic study abroad experiences. These expose the necessity of understanding local socio-historical definitions of race in order to better prepare and assist students in their study abroad endeavors. Themes grounded in the data include: • Mistaken identity/nationality • Emic (local) definitions of race • Not being viewed as American • Identification with local minorities • Racism & colorism • Intersectionality of gender and race • Invisibility/objectification • Faculty dismissal of race as an issue Findings problematize current U.S.-constructed understandings of race during study abroad. Particularly, they revealed practical manifestations of Stuart Hall’s theoretical discussions of race as a “floating signifier” with differing etic and emic interpretations. Educators are challenged to dispose of the common yet mis-informed practice of advising students that they will no longer be considered “Black” while abroad but seen only as “American.” Instead, they are encouraged to develop course and country-specific plans that will help American students be prepared for varied, locally negotiated, definitions of race in different study abroad destinations.
Issue Date:2020-12-04
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Dinah Armstead
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-03-05
Date Deposited:2020-12

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