The Carter G. Woodson Institute, U.Va.

The Carter G. Woodson Institute

for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia


My dissertation  investigates the cultural discourse of girlhood that Black girls produce through use of digital media. I combine Black feminist frameworks with media studies and spatial humanities to interrogate the productive possibilities of Black girls’ digital media practices. My project asks: How do Black girls use digital technologies to create photographs and videos that contribute to conversations about race, gender, and sexuality, and what might these images and conversations reveal about how Black girls both navigate and create spaces through cultural production?  I employ semiotic analysis and ethnographic methods to understand how Black girls come to engage with digital media, how these interactions shape girls’ sense of self, and how these practices position Black girls as theorists of Black girlhood. By approaching Black girlhood as a site of production rather than merely consumption, my research shifts the focus in the existing literature on Black girlhood from a deficit or delinquency model to a productivity model. The project refuses a simplistic consumer-producer binary and offers a more nuanced and accurate account of Black girls’ media practices.

First Name: 
Pre-Doctoral Fellow (Women’s and Gender Studies)
Rutgers University
Dissertation Title: 
“To Be Girl, Digital, and Black: Black Girls’ Digital Media Production as Cultural Discourse”