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ACCULTURATION PROCESS: AN INTERPRETATION OF THE EXPERIENCES OF LIBERIAN IMMIGRANTS IN PHOENIX

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It took the coming together of a community of people and their collective efforts to bring me where I am today academically. I would first like to thank Barrett, especially Dean Ramsey who helped build my appreciation for reading primary

It took the coming together of a community of people and their collective efforts to bring me where I am today academically. I would first like to thank Barrett, especially Dean Ramsey who helped build my appreciation for reading primary text, and NCUIRE for awarding me the grant for this project. I want to extend my gratitude to Dr. Jeffery Kassing for being more than a director for my thesis by patiently listening to me talk about my future aspiration, and Dr. Jim Reed for being a mentor and a second reader. I would also like to thank all the multitude of professors and other mentors who helped shape my perspective in seeing the bigger picture. I am mostly grateful to all those who directly and indirectly helped bring this thesis to realization. Lastly, but certainly not the least, I would like to say a big thank you to my entire family, loved ones, and friends here and back home for enthusiastically cheering me on.

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2015-05

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Exploring colonial legacy among Liberians in the diaspora: clash of two cultures

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This thesis investigates colonialism’s legacy on contemporary Liberia’s language practices and self-understandings. Liberia was colonized by freed American slaves under the auspices of the American Colonization Society, established in 1816, which sought to establish a Christian colony in Africa as

This thesis investigates colonialism’s legacy on contemporary Liberia’s language practices and self-understandings. Liberia was colonized by freed American slaves under the auspices of the American Colonization Society, established in 1816, which sought to establish a Christian colony in Africa as part of its plan to save the black race. The freed slaves who realized this dream imposed their master’s language and religion upon the indigenous people they encountered while establishing the Liberian nation-state. This thesis delineates and explores three distinct data sets in order to identify contemporary vestiges and legacies of these colonial strategies, including interview data from Liberian immigrants, memoirs written by Liberians, and social media posts by Liberian immigrants. The study uses discourse analysis to analyze how Liberian immigrants represent themselves and their cultural practices drawing upon both colonial and indigenous identities. Findings revealed people with light skinned color (referred to as white) were viewed as beautiful and dark skinned people (referred to Africans) were considered as ugly. The study also revealed that speaking local languages is equated with illiteracy while the ability to speak English was seen as a sign of literacy. However, there was also a contradictory imperative that demonstrated resistance against the colonizing narrative. Liberia immigrants who experienced American culture fantasized about what they called true African identity and culture, revalorizing what previously had been negated.

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2017