Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Education

First Advisor

Shaun R. Harper

Second Advisor

John L. Jackson

Abstract

THE STORIES WE TELL: NARRATIVES OF SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT AMONG BLACK UNDERGRADUATES

Keon M. McGuire

Shaun R. Harper

John L. Jackson, Jr.

Discourse surrounding religion in the American public sphere, especially as it relates to young adults, primarily exists within church decline narratives; or the declining significance of faith traditions and institutions. Yet, when a framework that dismisses the role of religion and spirituality is utilized for interpreting and making sense of young adults' spirituality, interesting, revitalizing, and innovative ways in which young adults are doing spirituality and religion remain obscured. Thus, scholars must employ a different set of theories and methodologies to excavate the spiritual and religious from ostensibly secular spaces and practices. In postsecondary education the need to better understand shifting terrains of spirituality and religion among young adults is particularly acute. As such, this study was primarily interested in how Black undergraduate students describe their spiritual and religious identity developmental processes before and during college. Moreover, I was interested in understanding what role college experiences and environments play in Black students' spiritual and religious identity development.

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