This work is accessible only to Trinity faculty, staff, and students. Off-Campus Trinity users should click the "Off-Campus Download" button below, then enter your Trinity username and password when prompted.

Date of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Anthropology/ International Studies

First Advisor

James Trostle

Second Advisor

Janet Bauer


This research draws attention to the importance of culturally-constructed sexual subjectivity in the 1.5 and second generation Caribbean American immigrant population in the Northeast and the implications of this for public health policy and practice. Second generation Caribbean immigrants are identified as persons that were born or grew up in the United States, of Caribbean heritage, that adhere to both American and Caribbean cultural norms. Thirty females overall participated in the study. Sixteen ethnographic interviews in conjunction with qualitative surveys were conducted. One focus group of twelve participants was held in order to establish how informants redefine their own sexual subjectivity based on cultural context. Two other participants agreed to informal conversations instead of formal interviews about the topic. The ages of the participants ranged between sixteen and thirty-five years of age. More specifically my research investigates the challenge confronted by immigrants’ children navigating the gap between American and Caribbean norms regarding acceptable female sexual behavior and practice. Sexual subjectivities are constructed as a result of navigating cultural norms and result in individual beliefs about sexuality and sexual practice. When cultural norms attribute guilt and shame to premarital sex, young women may develop sexual risky behaviors. In order to reduce risky sexual practice within immigrants of Caribbean heritage, the sexual health educational gap must be bridged and the culture of silence must be decimated in order to bring sexual health conversations to the forefront and reduce stigma surrounding female premarital sex.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology/International Studies. Access to full text is restricted to the campus only.