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Article 2

Stephanie Krusemark

Stephanie Krusemark

University of Denver

The Campus as Stage: A Qualitative Study of the Hypervisibility and Invisibility of African American Female Identity in the Built Campus Environment

Abstract

In this article, excerpts from a qualitative dissertation study conducted in 2009-2010 at a predominantly white institution in the Rocky Mountain region are shared through the narratives of Rachel, Abbie, and Marilyn, three African American female students attending the institution. This article challenges us to consider the dynamics that occur between African American women and the physical and landscaped spaces of a predominantly white campus environment. Through their narratives we discover their experiences of navigating the boundaries of hypervisibility and invisibility as racially gendered women. This inquiry posits that we need to consider the psychological impact of how the architectural design of a campus environment can create unwelcoming spaces and unpleasant experiences. These spaces serve to further perpetuate the historical dominant ideologies of identity that lead to the marginalization and harassment of African American women.