College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

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black fraternity, masculinity, sexuality, hazing, race


This study examines how black men in black fraternities construct and negotiate their masculinity. We argue that the purpose of black fraternities’ hazing and pledge practices is different from that of white fraternities. Black fraternities use these processes to educate members about the historical oppression of black men and to mold members’ manhood. We maintain that black fraternity members use various strategies to resist yet conform to the fraternity philosophy at the same time to negotiate their manhood. Using in-depth interviews with current and previous members, we examine the embedded gender, sexual and racial meanings throughout the pledging and hazing processes. We present the various strategies that black members use to construct their own sense of masculinity unique to their experiences as black men in American society.