Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUC Santa Cruz

How Did We Get Here? Black Professional Women, Place-Making and Belonging in Portland, Oregon

  • Author(s): Cameron-Dominguez, Kim C.
  • Advisor(s): Anderson, Mark
  • et al.
Abstract

My dissertation is an examination of what it meant for professional black women transplants to be caught up in the interstices of inter-personal and institutional narratives about race, gender, and class in Portland. I argue that the city benefits from women’s insertion into structures upon which its brand of middle-class livability is dependent. Yet, their labor and complex sense of belonging are not included in historical, social, or political narratives about the city. Between June 2016 and July 2018, I focused on women’s experiences, who were recruited from civic and activist organizations, public events organized for people of color in Portland, and from among my existing friendship circles. I collected data using written surveys, recorded interviews and informal conversations, and participant observations at their workplaces, in their homes and during get-togethers. My research complicates assumptions that black professional women’s class achievement mitigates intersecting forms of oppression. I also demonstrate how contemporary Portland has narrated itself as a predominantly white city by strategizing to marginalize blackness, rather than as a result of its total exclusion. The black population in Portland is historically diverse and the professional women in my study participate in a trajectory of experience where black people have looked for and made opportunity in the city, even when it was not planned for them to do so.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View