Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Sacred Sister Circles for Women of Colors: a Feminist Participatory Action Organic Inquiry Exploring Authentic Self-Expression
by Coleman, Sunshine Michelle, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2020, 315; 28258278
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation explores the empowerment of authentic self-expression within the experience of women of colors, specifically American-born women of African, Latinx, or Indigenous descent. In this inquiry, authenticity is defined as a way of being genuine from an inner realization of self, inclusive of cultural views, perspectives, and influences.Women of colors generally may not feel comfortable or empowered to express authentically and bring their whole selves to the table. This project theorizes and explores with the inquiry population that women of colors who express authentically experience inner freedom and liberation, making them a powerful force of social healing within the community and in the world.This inquiry engages an original integral methodological approach within the participatory action research (PAR) paradigm called feminist participatory action organic inquiry (FPAOI), which inherently includes a transformative, indigenous, and anti-oppressive lens. FPAOI involves the spiritual, intuitive, and synchronistic, combined with the participatory action orientation, which is culturally congruent for women of colors within the inquiry population. Women of colors feminism is the critical theoretical framework that serves as the foundation of the project. A Sacred Sister Circle was convened with nine coresearchers during a 7-month period as a powerful forum for active engagement and reflection on the topic with mutual community support. This process invited growth, healing, and transformation through the indigenous practice of the sacred circle. The findings yielded four broad themes of safety, acceptance, connection, and belonging, which are necessary for the empowerment of authentic self-expression within women of colors. The literature reviewed explores the topic from the perspectives of historical marginalization, oppression, and transgression that have occurred within the inquiry populations over time. The literature also addresses resilience, survival, and thriving within these communities of women, as well as defines what authentic self-expression is and its impacts on the individual and the community. A significant component of this inquiry and FPAOI method was the unexpected presence of the angelic realm as a spiritual emergence, which broadened the relevance of the inquiry for exposure to alternative and deeper ways of knowing the authentic self through spiritual awakening.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Elawar, May
Commitee: Gozawa, Joanne, Keating, AnaLouise
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Transformative Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 82/6(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Social research
Keywords: authenticity, Feminist Participatory Action Research, Organic Inquiry, Sacred Sister Circle, spiritual emergence, women of color
Publication Number: 28258278
ISBN: 9798557031301
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