Nevertheless, We Persist: Exploring the Cultural Capital of Black First-Generation Doctoral Students at Non-Black Serving Institutions

Wallace / The Review of Higher Education / July 2022

black female reading in library

The purpose of this qualitative narrative study was to understand how Black first-generation doctoral recipients used their cultural capital to navigate structural barriers and oppression enacted by stakeholders at non-Black serving institutions. Findings revealed that Black first-generation doctoral students used nine forms of cultural capital to persist despite isolation, hypervisibility, systemic and institutional oppression, and experiencing impostorism due to a lack of transparency by institutional actors. This study offers confidence capital, an emergent form of cultural capital, while also providing implications for higher education policymakers, researchers, and educators in removing structural barriers to degree completion for Black first-generation doctoral students.