Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Education, Teaching-Learning Processes

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Rebecca Rogers, PhD


Virginia Navarro, Ph.D.

Jackie Lewis-Harris, Ph.D.

Matthew Davis, Ph.D.


This study utilized a basic qualitative research design to explore how teachers enrolled in a graduate level social justice course read and respond to racialized texts, referenced as the “critical reading tasks.” These “critical reading tasks” included the constructs of: racial identity/positioning, historical time frame, characters/personal attributes, language, class, and intersectionality. Additionally, the following research questions guided the study: In what ways do teacher education students evoke, interpret, construct or misunderstand race, racism and anti-racism? And how do these understandings change over time, as participants revisit the readings? In what ways do participants describe the emotionality associated with revisiting racialized texts at different points in time? What might this layered approach to reading texts offer to the field’s understanding of racial literacy? Data sources included: (1) field notes, (2) texts, (3) written responses, (4) digital recordings of semi-structure interviews, (5) digital recordings of focus group and an (6) autobiographical survey. Data analysis tools included ground theory techniques (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) and critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 1992 & Rogers, 2011). Findings revealed that the discourse of the various participants reflected evolving racial literacy, as a result of revisiting and re-reading of texts that were racialized in nature. This research adds to existing scholarship in the field of racial literacy, because it revealed that the “self” is not fixed, but dynamic. More importantly, racial literacy can be a powerful tool for shaping and expanding the understandings of teacher education students, as they attend to issues involving race, racism and anti-racism.

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