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There is an emerging body of literature examining the academic success of Black men attending predominantly White colleges and universities, though less is known about Black college men’s experiences at liberal arts institutions. In this paper, I draw upon semi-structured and photovoice interview data from a study on Black male college students attending a predominantly White liberal arts institution in the USA. Specifically, I will present narrative and visual data of how Black college men perceive the campus racial climate and make sense of their (in)visibility at the university. Drawing upon poststructuralist theories of gender and critical race theory, I analyze the ways in which they managed race, gender and sexuality within university spaces, giving attention to their agency in performing a range of masculinities in response to and in anticipation of campus-based racism and racialized discourses. By situating their gendered performances within the context of the campus racial climate, I argue that universities are sites of racial and gender socialization where dominant ideologies of Black masculinities are imposed, and where ontological installments of gender play out in ways that can impact Black males’ inclusion on campus. Suggestions for the improvement of Black male higher education success will be discussed.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Gender and Education, volume 32, issue 7, in 2020, available online at It may differ slightly from the final version of record.

Peer Reviewed



Taylor & Francis



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