Black at the OBGYN: Rhetorics of Race in Women’s Health Care

Veronica Garrison-Joyner

Advisor: Heidi Y. Lawrence, PhD, Department of English

Committee Members: Isidore Dorpenyo, Leah Adams

Horizon Hall, #4225
April 29, 2022, 11:00 AM to 01:00 PM


This dissertation spotlights the lived and inherited experiences of Black women as they navigate engagements with obstetricians, gynecologists, and other women’s health care providers in conjunction with a discourse analysis of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Relying on rhetorical analysis and situated within a Black feminist epistemological standpoint, this study performs a thematic analysis of interviews with Black women who have had negative experiences in women’s health care, often specifically with an OBGYN. The insights gained from those interviews provide an entry toward better understandings of the way rhetorical constructions of race shape interactions between Black women and their health care providers. Comparing those insights with the rhetorical constructions of race used in OBGYN research, this dissertation argues for more research based in a social constructivist perspective and offers the opportunity to learn from Black women’s experiential knowledge in dialogic renegotiations of the meaning of race and its role in health and wellness.