Siri just completed his dissertation entitled “A PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN RAISED WITHOUT THEIR BIOLOGICAL FATHERS”. He will be defending the dissertation on September 21st in front of an audience of faculty, family, and friends.


“The purpose of this study was to research the lived experience of African American men raised without their biological fathers. The study included eight participants, all of whom experienced living no more than five years with their biological fathers in the household before they reached the age of six. Giorgi’s phenomenological methodology was utilized, as open-ended questions were posed to collect data which facilitated the detailing of the individual and general situated structures. For those who experienced the phenomenon the findings were as follows: 1) desired to be in relationship with father, 2) developed a self sufficiency, 3) forfeited guidance, 4) observed older men as role models, 5) felt deterred in achieving life goals, 6) respected women and were prone to see them later in life as authority figures, 7) became insecure, sexually confused or homosexual when the longing for male presence was eroticized, 8) learned about sex from real life sexual experiences. Also, the competitive dynamic between father and son in the Oedipal myth did not corroborate with the narratives of the participants; it was the reverence and love between father and son within the Egyptian Osirian myth that encompassed the African American psyche.”


How did you find your way to your dissertation topic?
“South, into the abyss, the aporia, the unconscious, the imaginal, the place of myth to deepen into soul. Voila!”

Tell us a little bit about what the dissertation process was like for you.
“George Faison (choreographer of the Tony Award winning musical, “The Wiz” in which I was cast as Lead Monkey and understudy to the Tin Man in the 1970’s) had “Suite Otis” (a world famous ballet), you had three children, and I had a dissertation. But besides the most obvious pleasure of having read or heard the words, “Your final draft has been approved,” by committee members, the conscientious student should also endeavor to enjoy “the labor process.” Also, in successfully traversing this terrain there is the additional pleasure of having turned my wound into a wand as, not only have I been touched but now through the knowledge /wisdom gained in doing the work/research, others perhaps can be touched and healed as well.”

What advice might you have for students who are considering the dissertation journey?
“Students who have a depth of being, who are capable of making a contribution to the field of psychology, who are considering on embarking on the dissertation journey, should keep in mind that beyond a brilliant topic, perspicacity and excellent writing skills, “a good dissertation is a finished dissertation.” Perseverance and a vision of completion, regardless of personal life challenges, must be at the helm. To stay connected to a fellow class member as well as have a supportive committee, I also highly suggest.”

Click here to read more about his dissertation, the process of writing and researching it, and comments from his faculty advisors.