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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Linda Griffin

Second Advisor

Kysa Nygreen

Third Advisor

Keisha Green

Fourth Advisor

Rebecca Dingo

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Secondary Education | Secondary Education and Teaching | Teacher Education and Professional Development


In education, the proliferation of a mind/body dualism leaves the pedagogy of the body undertheorized, and its impact on education disregarded. While there is not an absence of research on the body within the field of education, what exists is limited in scope. Little has been written about the connections between teachers’ bodies, pedagogy, and politics at the level of secondary education.

This research specifically focuses on teachers who are visibly other, critically conscious of their bodies, and find power in their difference. The purpose of this study is to make meaning of the stories, experiences, and potential of teachers who refuse to assimilate their embodied otherness through critical, phenomenological methodologies.

The findings reflect my in-depth interviews with 8 public school educators from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I used a three-interview series protocol to examine the process of developing a critical and political consciousness situated in embodied otherness, accessing a power that is personal, and analyzing the impact of embodied otherness on classroom pedagogy. Data showed that through implicit and explicit messages about bodies, education plays a significant role in enforcing normativity as well as providing access to alternative narratives, both of which have lasting impacts. Data also provided a vision for an embodied pedagogy that is relational, transparent, and student-centered. Embodied pedagogy frameworks expressed by participants included centering access as an anchor point, an emphasis on student agency, recognizing the importance of modeling authenticity, and shifting from ‘power over’ to ‘power with.’

This study has implications for the knowledge and methods valued in educational settings. It highlights the need for theories of identity development that are situated in educational contexts, as well as for the development of frameworks in formal education which foreground access and embodiment.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.