Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




In my dissertation, I examine contemporary exhibits about African American history and culture at six museums to explore issues of racial representation, collective identity, and cultural authority. I conduct a systematic two-part investigation of exhibition practices across Black-owned/operated and mainstream museums, one of each in three different cities (Chicago, IL; Milwaukee, WI; and Washington, DC). First, I explore the socio-historic discourses on race as played out in the museum medium and its implications for shaping collective identity. Second, I examine the use of exhibits and other visual mediums located within museums, in the process of representation wherein these visual media symbolize social and cultural identities. This study provides a cross-cultural analysis of how the varying foci of museums shape cultural representations throughout their respective exhibition practices, which in turn fosters narratives and counter-narratives of cultural identity and cultural authority that are [re]negotiated within museums.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.