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Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

International Studies

First Advisor

Kent Warren

First Committee Member

Anita Rowe

Second Committee Member

Jimena Perry

Third Committee Member

Laura Bathurst

Abstract

Professional interactions that are both functional and mutually beneficial are rare. The purpose of this study is to explore an application of a Third Culture Building (TCB) approach, a mutually constructed interpersonal process between two individuals, for Black American professionals (with advanced knowledge acquired from institutions of higher learning), to generate a new space in Predominantly White Institutions (PWis). These institutions include settings where the racial composition is becoming consistently more diverse (through past desegregation efforts). Although the U.S. has moved beyond integration and the monumental Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, racism and intercultural barriers that prevent functional cross-cultural communication still exist in these settings.

This research is directed toward answering the question: How might Black American professionals generate a Third Culture space in PWis through cross-cultural social exchange? The research builds on my previous study where the TCB approach was found to be conducive for the intercultural barriers faced by Black Americans in PWis. The research emphasizes the perspective of Black Americans and de-emphasizes the perspective of White Americans, given the body of literature that points to their adaptation and intercultural interactions in the U.S. and in international contexts.

A sample of six Black American professionals (ages 30 to 72; 4 men and 4 women) from my baseline study was invited to take part in this study. Respondents were chosen based on their backgrounds and similarity of race, to learn about their perspectives of the intercultural interactions in PWis. Participants live in the Midwest region of the U.S.

Using interpretive, critical theory, and other qualitative approaches, the discussions from a focus group and interviews were transcribed and combined with the interviewer's notes. The participants' responses were organized around TCB frameworks and the interview questions, and then reduced to codes. Two evaluators reviewed the interview data, codes, and themes.

Pages

98