Date of Award

May 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Urban Education

First Advisor

Larry G. Martin

Committee Members

Jeffrey Hawkins, Raji Swaminathan, Merry Wiesner-Hanks, Laura Villamil


Christianity, Content Analysis, Female Agency, Islam, Judaism, World History Textbooks


This study investigated women’s agency in the emergence accounts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in nine twenty-first century United States’ world history textbooks through a feminist lens. The collected data were analyzed via critical discourse analysis and content analysis to determine if traditional patterns of female marginalization in content and imagery existed. The quantitative and qualitative findings in both text and imagery indicated that all textbooks in this sample supported a traditional content structure on both an individual and collective whole basis. This study then concluded that these gender-imbalanced accounts of world religions may serve as an avenue in which distorted and/or incorrect information may be communicated to students regarding the interconnectedness of culture and religion, potentially misshaping students’ knowledge cultivation processes. Additionally, traditional content formatting may also reinforce existing negative stereotypes concerning women in religion and women overall. To rectify these transgressions, this study offers educators and textbook publishers succinct, provocative information on seven prominent religious women within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam whose contributions assisted in the rise of their religions.