Theses Doctoral

Crafting Digital Narratives: Black Girls' Literacies, Social Media, and Identity Formation

Odlum, Lakisha Renee

This qualitative dissertation explored the digital literacy practices of adolescent Black girls who actively engaged on social media in the midst of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, mandatory school shutdowns, and the aftermath of the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. I employ the Black Girls’ Literacies (BGL) framework (Haddix & Muhammad, 2016) to analyze the TikTok accounts of two adolescent Black girl influencers, as well as six qualitative interviews I conducted with adolescent Black girls who avidly used video sharing social media apps during that time.

The data analysis aligned with the following components of the BGL Framework: Black girls’ literacies are multiple; Black girls’ literacies are tied to identities; and Black girls’ literacies are intellectual, political, and critical. Moreover, the data analysis also revealed that Black girls espoused three different identities while using social media to address the COVID-19 pandemic and anti-Black violence. These themes were: Crafting Digital Narratives of the Self as Educators, Crafting Digital Narratives of the Self as Nurturers, and Crafting Digital Narratives of the Self as Digital Activists. My findings suggested that for English educators, prioritizing racial literacy in the English classroom, creating learning experiences that are informed by critical media literacy, and creating a space that honors and supports Black girls’ desires to be activists within their communities are critical for their success within and outside of the English classroom.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
English Education
Thesis Advisors
Sealey-Ruiz, Yolanda
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 27, 2021