First Advisor

Aaron Roussell

Term of Graduation

Fall 2020

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Sociology






Feminism and education -- United States, African American women -- Education, Stereotypes (Social psychology), African Americans -- Sexual behavior, Post-racialism, HIV infections -- Education -- United States



Physical Description

1 online resource (xxi, 204 pages)


This mixed methods project combines the conceptual insights offered by institutional ethnography, the deductive and inductive attributes of content analysis, semi structured interviews, and quantitative data analysis to study Sisters Informing Sisters on Topics of AIDS (SISTA), a social skills training program designed for sexually active, heterosexual African American women. This progressive program serves as a site to examine the complex relationship the U.S. state has had, and continues to have, with marginalized populations, particularly African Americans. The program reveals how the state, through the public health service, partners with scholars, researchers, and community-based organizations to produce, reproduce and perpetuate problematic discourses regarding the sexual lives of Black folks. As a former participant in this training, I juxtapose the theory of gender and power, upon which the program rests, to standpoint feminist theories like Black Feminist Thought to show the ways class and colorblind racism work together in well-intentioned programs to ensure the survival of controlling images. I argue that though SISTA offered a variety of benefits to the community, it is still a valuable source of data into the ways harmful stereotypes about the sexual lives of Black folks concerning HIV/AIDS exposure persist even in the face of opposing discourse like Black Feminist Thought.


© 2020 Joy Mutare Fashu Kanu

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