Term of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

John Weaver

Committee Member 1

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 2

Marla Morris

Committee Member 3

Nathan Snaza

Committee Member 3 Email




The dissertation is a speculative essay exploring the integration of animal studies into the curriculum to expose students to the ethical and environmental issues surrounding animals. The inquiry uses ecopedagogy and the notion of society’s responsibility to care for and respect all lifeforms, while exploring the lenses of posthumanism and critical animal studies in an attempt to seek social justice for nonhumans. The overarching theme is that alternative pedagogical practices concerning the relationships between humans and animals deserve a place in the curriculum. The dichotomies separating humans from nonhumans are confronted through autobiographical accounts detailing the abilities of animals to communicate, form communities, and negotiate their environment to survive the contradictions that confine them. My dissertation is situated in the interdisciplinary field of curriculum studies through the investigation of its relationships and ideas (Ayers, Quinn, Stovall, and Scheiern, 2008; Crotty, 2003; He, Schultz, & Schubert, 2015; Morris, 2016a, b; Pinar, Reynolds, Slattery, & Taubman, 1995/2008; Schubert, 2009). My defined place and the racism constructed by southern mindsets is examined (Cash, 1991; Harpham, 2011, Herzog, 2010; Kincheloe and Pinar, 1991; Spring, 2010; Watkins, 2001; Welty, 1994; Woodson, 2014). The weaknesses of the Eurocentric curriculum are discussed (Kahn, 2010; Krell, 2013; Latour, 2004; McLaren, 2011; Pedersen, 2010; Waldau, 2013). My inquiry explains how nonhumans create knowledge and are active agents in the world (Birke, 2014; Derrida, 2008; Despret, 2013, 2015; Haraway, 2003; Pearson, 2013; Shaw, 2013) as they identify partners, sense death, voice preferences, and display intentional behaviors (Joy, 2010; King, 2013; Knapp, 1998; Rowlands, 2013; Taylor, 2014; Wolfe, 2013). The assumed dichotomies, contradictory relationships, and environmental responsibilities surrounding nonhumans are considered (Coetzee, 1999; Freire, 2004; Morris, 2015; Singh, 2018; Springgay, 2015; Tuck & McKenzie, 2015; Weaver & Snaza, 2016). From my inquiry, I deduce our perceptions, concerning nonhumans, are carved from historical negligence, a political agenda which benefits only those in power, and monetary gain at the expense of exploiting the lives of nonhumans. I remain steadfast in my assertion that nonhumans communicate, form communities, survive contradictions, and are deserving of an informed curriculum that includes the integration of animal studies.

INDEX WORDS: Animal studies, Posthumanism, Ecopedagogy, Critical animal studies

Research Data and Supplementary Material