Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Thomas Rickert

Committee Member 1

Jennifer Bay

Committee Member 2

Samantha Blackmon

Committee Member 3

Ronald J. Stephens


This is an exploration of theoretical approaches to W. E. B. DuBois’ notion of “double consciousness,” which specifically looks at how other scholars have defined DuBois’ philosophy and what it means for Black graduate students in the 21st century. This project seeks to explore theorists’ application of this concept, its relations to one another, and its implications for Black students and faculty in academia. As such, this project examines existing vantage points of what it means to practice dual identities in various capacities, and how this contributes to students of color’s understanding and navigation of Black culture within predominantly white institutions. Additionally, this research surveys and analyzes the experiences of Black graduate students who have graduated from HBCUs and now pursue graduate degree studies at predominately white institutions, and the implications their experiences have on the retention rate of Black graduate students in higher education institutions such as Purdue. This study draws upon primary and secondary sources about how the possibility for dual identity is constructed, and black identity is fashioned or influenced, within and outside of predominantly-white academic institutions. This project also attempts to acknowledge and debunk the rather widely-accepted perceptions of a monolithic experience for members of the black community and how those ideologies are partially constructed by an oppressive, dominating white society.