Hiding behind the cross: The production and enactment of black masculinity in an urban non-denominational Black Church
Johnson, Tracy Patrice
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This qualitative dissertation is designed to understand the lived experiences of African American men and seeks to fill the gap in literature on the production and enactment of masculinity in the context of the Black Church. It explores the question: How do African American men in Church leadership positions produce and enact their masculinity? Specifically, I engaged in ethnographic study using a set of observations and semi-structured interviews with appropriate participants, for a period of eighteen months in an urban Black Church, arguably a "Free Space," in Upstate, New York. In this research, I use the concept of "masculinity" to explore behaviors and identity formation within the Black Church. By using the concept of masculinity, I do not intend to exclude and render invisible women's voices. Rather, I look at how women within the same congregation are constitutive of the processes of production and enactment by asking them to reflect on the responses of the men who are interviewed and observed. Thus, the relation of men to women and women to men is significant to the study.