Date of Award

May 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Urban Education

First Advisor

Jeffrey M Hawkins

Second Advisor

Candance Doerr-Stevens

Committee Members

Leanne M Evans, Erin Winkler


Research highlights that the predominantly white P-12 teaching force in the United States is largely unprepared to teach an increasingly diverse student population about issues of race/ism. This unpreparedness is particularly pertinent in subjects like social studies that are based on understandings of culture and race. Thus, this study seeks to understand how social studies teacher preparation programs are preparing preservice social studies teachers to address and examine issues of race/ism in their practice. Drawing on critical discourse analysis and small stories research, this study utilizes interviews, focus groups, and content analysis of course syllabi to examine social studies teacher educators’ approach to teaching and discussing race/ism with preservice teachers. Through a framework formed out of critical race theory and critical whiteness studies, this study seeks to identify and amplify pedagogical and methodological considerations for the teaching and learning of race/ism in teacher preparation programs so we can move to a space of decentering whiteness in order to reclaim curricular space for marginalized voices, stories, and histories. Findings illuminate: 1) teacher educators’ lived experiences with race and racism foreground the pedagogical strategies they implement around race/ism, 2) the support of the academic community of teacher educators influences their self-efficacy in addressing issues of race/ism, and 3) white privilege influences the way teacher educators decide to engage in topics of race/ism with preservice teachers.

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