Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Engendering Subjectivities: Narratives of African Immigrant Girls in Public High Schools

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Engendering Subjectivities: Narratives of African Immigrant Girls in Public High Schools

Article excerpt

The goal of this study was to illuminate the educational experiences of one of the least researched immigrant groups - African girls. I relied mainly on narratives of four African immigrant girls in public high schools to elucidate how these girls defined their learning environment. Out of school observations were used to supplement in-depth phenomenological interviews. I drew from four theoretical concepts--academic achievement, social and cultural capital and boundary work to elucidate the strategies these four girls used in their attempt to achieve academic success.

This study was also about identity. Banks & Banks (2010) assert that in order to understand the academic outcomes of minority students, we have to also know their identification processes. To this end, my goal was illuminate how this group of girls constructed their identity as they navigated high school, and how these processes shaped their academic outcomes.

The premise of this study is that African girls are not a monolithic group. While participants in the study share an "African" heritage, they have other distinguishing features which can lead to a range of schooling experiences. African girls can be differentiated by their immigration stories, countries of origins, family background, among other distinguishing factors. In this regard, I argue for the inclusion of diverse experiences in the discussion of girls' education, with the hope that this research will challenge mainstream perspectives that have for a long time taken the experiences of White-middle class girls as the universal experiences of all girls. …

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