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Black Women’s Liberatory Pedagogies: Towards a Transformative Theory and Praxis

Caisey, Alannah (2023) Black Women’s Liberatory Pedagogies: Towards a Transformative Theory and Praxis. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This three-article dissertation examines Black women K-12 educators’ implementation of liberatory pedagogies and praxes in U.S. education spaces and the implications of using these approaches. Black women educators often occupy dual roles as activists and knowledge producers within educational institutions. Given these commensurate positionalities, this research asks the following question: How do Black women’s use of liberatory praxes and pedagogies influence their trajectory as educators? The first article in this dissertation addresses this question theoretically. Using a critical genealogy that traces the practices and theoretical contributions of Black women scholar-activists, I analyze the continuity between the experiences of K-12 educators contemporarily and scholar-activists historically. I highlight scholar-activist theorizations around intersectional oppression, speaking truth to power, citizenship, and theory as praxis. The second dissertation article reviews Black women K-12 educators’ contemporary articulations of their own liberatory pedagogies and praxes to examine the capacity for thinking about this work within and outside of the classroom. The use of a Black feminist epistemological approach extends possibilities for considering education and freedom outside of the traditional classroom. Using an analysis of in-depth interviews with a sample of Black women K-12 educators and classroom observations, I show that these educators’ liberatory praxes are characterized by: the educator’s liberatory political identification (one that commits to freedom and black liberation and the centering of community and social transformation); the use of revolutionary curriculum (one that is culturally responsive and includes critical analysis of power and critical consciousness); and an approach to education that centers the learner and their well-being (one that is emphasizes love, authenticity, and Black valuation). The final dissertation article conceptualizes a matrix of ejection as an extension of the matrix of oppression to examine teacher exit from schools. Drawing on in-depth interviews with Black women K-12 educators self-identifying as using liberatory praxes, I find that this matrix of ejection is characterized by the following elements: experiences of racism, microaggressions, and violence associated with whiteness; feeling unappreciated, devalued, and/or disrespected; and censorship and lack of support of liberatory work.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Caisey, Alannahasc84@pitt.eduasc84
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHughes, Melaniehughesm@pitt.eduhughesm
Committee MemberBloom, Joshuajoshuabloom@pitt.edujoshuabloom
Committee MemberGoodkind, Sarasara.goodkind@pitt.edusara.goodkind
Committee MemberPatel, Leighleigh.patel@pitt.eduleigh.patel
Committee MemberMurphy, Michaelmmurphy3@oxy.edummurphy3
Date: 6 September 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 18 July 2023
Approval Date: 6 September 2023
Submission Date: 27 July 2023
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 145
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Sociology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Liberatory pedagogies, intersectionality, Black women, Black liberation, education
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2023 13:02
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2023 13:02


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