Do You See What We Carry?:  A Digital Content Analysis of Black Mothering Affective Experiences

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Virginia Tech


This project aims to explore the affective experiences of Black mothering within an anti-black context by analyzing podcast episodes. The project is organized by examining a) socio-historical constructions of race and gender which influenced Black motherhood and mothering experiences during chattel slavery, b) how those meanings have informed contemporary social constructions around Black mothering in opposition to normative mothering and motherhood–defined as white, cisgender, and middle class and c) the ways affect appears in Black mothering strategies today in a country that many argue continues to devalue Black lives The following questions ground this project: 1) How do social constructions around normative motherhood as a raced, gendered, and classed institution continue to impact Black women's mothering experiences, and 2) How do Black mothers narrate their mothering experiences, including their affective experiences of mothering within the U.S.? To capture Black mothers' sentiments around mothering, I used purposive sampling to select 33 podcasts from mothering blogs and a content platform that compiled lists of recommended podcasts of Black mothers speaking on mothering and other related topics. I analyzed the dialogue in 15 episodes of Black mother's reported experiences. I arranged the findings under three categories of affect: the affect of surrender and survival, the affect of agency, and the affect of community which is reflected in the conceptual framework of liberatory parenting.



affect, podcasts, Black feminism, anti-blackness, mothering, race, class, gender