Other affiliations: University of the District of Columbia, Rutgers University, University of Maryland, Baltimore County ...read more
Bio: Signithia Fordham is an academic researcher from University of Rochester. The author has contributed to research in topics: Academic achievement & Fictive kinship. The author has an hindex of 9, co-authored 10 publications receiving 5582 citations. Previous affiliations of Signithia Fordham include University of the District of Columbia & Rutgers University.
TL;DR: In this paper, a framework for understanding how a sense of collective identity enters into the process of schooling and affects academic achievement is proposed, showing how the fear of being accused of "acting white" causes a social and psychological situation which diminishes black students' academic effort and thus leads to underachievement.
Abstract: The authors review their previous explanation of black students' underachievement. They now suggest the importance of considering black people's expressive responses to their historical status and experience in America. “Fictive kinship” is proposed as a framework for understanding how a sense of collective identity enters into the process of schooling and affects academic achievement. The authors support their argument with ethnographic data from a high school in Washington, D.C., showing how the fear of being accused of “acting white” causes a social and psychological situation which diminishes black students' academic effort and thus leads to underachievement. Policy and programmatic implications are discussed.
TL;DR: Fordham et al. as discussed by the authors found that the characteristics required for success in society contradict an identification and solidarity with Black culture, and that students who feel the conflict between "making it" and group identification develop the particular strategy of racelessness.
Abstract: Signithia Fordham presents an analysis of the tensions high-achieving Black students feel when they strive for academic success. Students are pulled by their dual relationships to the indigenous Black fictive-kinship system and the individualistic, competitive ideology of American schools. By analyzing ethnographic data on six high-achieving Black high school students, the author finds that the characteristics required for success in society contradict an identification and solidarity with Black culture. Students who feel the conflict between "making it" and group identification develop the particular strategy of racelessness.
13 Mar 1996
TL;DR: Signithia Fordham et al. as discussed by the authors found that among African Americans, differences in childrearing practices and gender socialization are associated with differences in levels of academic achievement and in preferred resistance strategies.
Abstract: Blacked Out: Dilemmas of Race, Identity, and Success at Capital High, by Signithia Fordham. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1996. 411 pp. $22.95, paper. Reviewed by Jean Harris, Olympic College. At a time when the standardized test scores and educational attainment levels of African American students have been shown to lag stubbornly behind those of European Americans despite a spate of remedies directed at teachers, educators, and curriculum, a study that sheds light on how African American adolescents define and evaluate the cost of academic success should be of immediate interest to educators and policymakers. Moreover, anthropological research by an African American scholar who has herself traversed the oft-mined terrain of educational institutions should be must reading for ethnographers, psychologists, and general readers who want to understand Black student achievement, underachievement, and what Cose (1993) has dubbed the "rage" of the Black middle class. Such are the elements of Blacked Out, a study of success in the Black community that uses a high school as its field research site. In Blacked Out, Fordham expands upon her earlier argument, first posited in the 1980s, that Black students' academic and out-of-school behaviors must be understood in light of an ethos that, on one hand, values Black identity and, on the other, defines achieving academic success as "acting White" (Fordham, 1988; Fordham & Ogbu, 1986). True to form, she rejects simplistic arguments that success for African Americans is dependent solely upon desire and ability. She rejects as well the notion that African Americans who resist conventional notions of success do not want to live out some aspects of the American Dream. Instead, she contends that, for Black students, academic success and academic underachievement are processes of resistance that enable African Americans to maintain their humanness in the face of a stigmatized racial identity. As Blacked Out reveals, this resistance manifests among African American adolescents as both conformity and avoidance. Employing the holistic perspective that is the hallmark of her discipline, Fordham examines the myriad cultural, sociohistorical, and psychological processes that affect student academic success at Capital High, a pseudonym for a school of almost two thousand students located in Washington, D.C. Core data for this study were collected by means of participant observation, interviews, and field notes Fordham gathered over a four-year period with 33 key informants, their peers, and nonfamilial adult members of the school community. Additional data came from questionnaires she administered to a large sample of other students and school personnel. Fordham maintains in Blacked Out that, among African Americans, differences in childrearing practices and gender socialization are associated with differences in levels of academic achievement and in preferred resistance strategies. As background to her study, Fordham traces historical events that have influenced African American cultural practices and social structure, delineating four eras that have elicited varying responses from different strata within this group: the enslavement era (ca. 1609-1865); the First Emancipation (1866-1959), or the period after the Civil War when slavery was legally abolished, yet people of African descent were forbidden to "act White" and assume citizenship on a par with European Americans; the Second Emancipation, the 26-year transition period corresponding roughly to the years 1960-1986, during which time Black Americans were obligated to act White in order to compete with European Americans; and the neosegregation or contemporary period, which Fordham observes others have called the era of the "new racism," with its emerging and not yet clearly defined parameters. For example, acknowledging that fictive kinship has been an organizing principle among Black families since the time of official enslavement, Fordham argues that the egalitarian ethos of cooperation and sharing fostered by this principle stands in opposition to the individualistic ethos of the schools. …
TL;DR: The authors explored the impact of gender diversity on school achievement using data obtained from an ethnographic study of academic success in an urban high school, examining how the normalized definition of femaleness-white middle-class womanhood-juxtaposed with a two-tiered dominating patriarchy, propels African-American females to resist consuming images that assert their "nothingness".
Abstract: This article explores the impact of gender diversity on school achievement. Using data obtained from an ethnographic study of academic success in an urban high school, this analysis examines how the normalized definition of femaleness-white middle-class womanhood-juxtaposed with a two-tiered dominating patriarchy, propels African-American females to resist consuming images that assert their "nothingness." "Loudness,"' thus becomes a metaphor for African-American women's contrariness, embodying their resistance to this proclaimed "nothingness." How "loudness" reflects their efforts to subvert the repercussions of these prevailing images is examined along with an assessment of its impact on academic achievement. GENDER DIVERSITY, BLACK FEMALES, RESISTANCE, ACADEMIC SUCCESS, GENDER "PASSING"
TL;DR: The authors analyzes the discourse styles, including the linguistic practices, of a group of African American high school students and offers a twofold conclusion: (1) Ebonics or Black English is the norm against which all other speech practices are evaluated by the students at the research site and (2) "the standard" is constructed as a vernacular.
Abstract: This article analyzes the discourse styles, including the linguistic practices, of a group of African American high school students and offers a twofold conclusion: (1) Ebonics or Black English is the norm against which all other speech practices are evaluated by the students at the research site and (2) “the standard”—that is, the standard English dialect—is constructed as a vernacular. As a vernacular, this discourse is not privileged; indeed, it is “dissed” (disrespected) and is only “leased” by the students on a daily basis from nine to three. This linguistic practice is centrally implicated in the postulated guerrilla warfare at the school. With data from a predominantly African American high school in Washington, D.C., the effects of this practice on African American academic achievement are documented. Several policy implications are also noted.
01 Jan 1982
Abstract: Introduction 1. Woman's Place in Man's Life Cycle 2. Images of Relationship 3. Concepts of Self and Morality 4. Crisis and Transition 5. Women's Rights and Women's Judgment 6. Visions of Maturity References Index of Study Participants General Index
TL;DR: In this article, the authors propose a culturally relevant theory of education for African-American students in the context of collaborative and reflexive pedagogical research, and explore the intersection of culture and teaching that relies solely on microanalytic or macro-analytic perspectives.
Abstract: In the midst of discussions about improving education, teacher education, equity, and diversity, little has been done to make pedagogy a central area of investigation. This article attempts to challenge notions about the intersection of culture and teaching that rely solely on microanalytic or macroanalytic perspectives. Rather, the article attempts to build on the work done in both of these areas and proposes a culturally relevant theory of education. By raising questions about the location of the researcher in pedagogical research, the article attempts to explicate the theoretical framework of the author in the nexus of collaborative and reflexive research. The pedagogical practices of eight exemplary teachers of African-American students serve as the investigative “site.” Their practices and reflections on those practices provide a way to define and recognize culturally relevant pedagogy.
TL;DR: In this article, the authors map critical race theory (CRT) scholarship in education over the past decade and draw this map with respect to larger conceptual categories of the scholarship on CRT, primarily focusing on the ideas applied from CRT in legal studies.
Abstract: The goal of this chapter goal is to map critical race theory (CRT) scholarship in education over the past decade and draw this map with respect to larger conceptual categories of the scholarship on CRT, primarily focusing on the ideas applied from CRT in legal studies. The chapter focuses primarily on the past 10 years and creates "spatial" markers based on the view of significant features in the literature. Some of these markers are whiteness as property, counternarrative, and interest convergence. Others are newly-represented such as microaggressions, intersectionality, and research methods. From the perspective of far too many students of color in schools, we are STILL not saved. While the chapter outlines several recommendations for CRT scholarship to move forward, perhaps the most important recommendation is to collectively seek to ensure that CRT becomes more than an intellectual movement.
•01 Dec 1998
TL;DR: A practice theory of self and identity has been proposed in this paper, where the authors place identity and agency on the Shoulders of Bakhtin and Vygotsky and describe the space of authoring.
Abstract: Preface I. On the Shoulders of Bakhtin and Vygotsky 1. The Woman Who Climbed Up the House 2. A Practice Theory of Self and Identity II. Placing Identity and Agency 3. Figured Worlds 4. Personal Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous 5. How Figured Worlds of Romance Become Desire III. Power and Privilege 6. Positional Identities 7. The Sexual Auction Block IV. The Space of Authoring 8. Authoring Selves 9. Mental Disorder, Identity, and Professional Discourse 10. Authoring Oneself as a Woman in Nepal V. Making Worlds 11. Play Worlds, Liberatory Worlds, and Fantasy Resources 12. Making Alternate Worlds in Nepal 13. Identity in Practice Notes References Credits Index
TL;DR: The case for culturally relevant pedagogy is discussed in this article, where the authors present a case study of culturally relevant teaching in the context of teaching in a high-technology environment, and discuss its application in education.
Abstract: (1995). But that's just good teaching! The case for culturally relevant pedagogy. Theory Into Practice: Vol. 34, Culturally Relevant Teaching, pp. 159-165.