Term of Award

Spring 2012

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

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 1

Sabrina Ross

Committee Member 2

John Weaver

Committee Member 3

Ugena Whitlock

Committee Member 3 Email



This study is an inquiry into the South as a place where race, class, and gender are interconnected to language, culture, identity, education, and religion to develop unique Southern identities. Drawing upon a vast body of literature in critical consciousness (Freire, 1974, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007), education and social change (Horton & Freire,1990), critical race theory (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001), critical white studies (Delgado & Stefancic, 1997), Black womanist perspectives of race, class, and gender (hooks, 2000a, 2000b, 2009), interrelatedness and education (Reynolds, 2003), political cartography of Christianity (Reynolds & Webber, 2009), interconnectedness (Liston, 2001), and psychoanalysis (Morris, 2001, 2006), I theorize my autobiographical narratives spanning from my childhood to my present adult life as an educator. Methodologically I draw upon Ugena Whitlock's (2007) autobiographical exploration of life in the South as a queer and a fundamentalist white female; Brian Casemore's (2008) autobiographical consideration of the South as place with its peculiar ideologies; Sabrina Ross's (2007) autobiographical inquiry into black liberation theology; Ming Fang He's (2003, 2010) narrative inquiry of cross-cultural lives and identities and exile pedagogy and lives in-between; Ming Fang He, JoAnne Phillion, and a number of graduate students' work on personal~passionate~participatory inquiry into social justice in education (He & Phillion, 2008); Marla Morris's (2008) autobiographical accounts of being ill through her lens of psychoanalysis; Mary Aswell Doll's (1995, 2000, 2006) work on the reflections of fiction in our daily lives as well as her collaborative autobiographical work with Martha L. Whitaker (2006) and Delese Wear (2006) in the area of lived curricula; and bell hooks' (2000a, 2000b, 2009) autobiographical works on race, class, and gender in the South. I also draw upon Maxine Greene's (1995) narrative imagination, the autobiographical works of Madeline Grumet (1988, 1999a, 1999b, 2006), Janet Miller (1998, 2005), and William Pinar (1994, 1999, 2000, 2006), particularly their use of phenomenology, autobiography, and currere as an autobiographical form of inquiry to study one's experience in the past, present, and future and the impact of social milieu on experience. My dissertation illuminates that people resist changes in their received or inherited consciousness. Most meaningful social change, which takes place over time, is more evolutionary than revolutionary in most instances (Horton, Kohl, & Kohl, 1990, pp.80-81). People are capable of changing the precepts and the percepts that influence their identities. Our identities are ever-changing (Wilkerson in Moya & Hames-Garcia, 2000, p. 263) with non-"irrevocable" (Freire, 2004, p. 65) situations and contexts in life. We constantly "improvise" (He, 2003, p. 51; also Bateson, 1989) who we were and how we become who we are. Critical self-examinations and reflections, spiritually, emotionally, ethically, logically, honestly, help evoke changes within oneself and others. Nevertheless, self-examinations and reflections are not enough. One must act upon changes and put changes into one's daily walkings (Freire & Horton, 1990). The human element must be preserved without being essentialized, standardized, or profited (Nussbaum, 2010). People must make deliberate, compassionate, and critically-conscious personal connections with one another to develop the sense of interconnectedness and interrelatedness, to cultivate (Nussbaum, 1997, 2010) highest human potential, and to build the highest levels of social justice, equality, and equity for a better human condition for all.

Research Data and Supplementary Material