This dissertation examines the discourses around gender present among a cohort of preservice secondary social studies teachers (n=25) and how gender discourses manifested throughout their preparatory year with particular interest paid to their thoughts about curricula, schools, and students. Using ethnographic study design, the author presents three significant moments that occurred throughout their preparatory year, and, for three focal students, interviews which occurred in their first year of teaching. Data include transcripts of three class sessions, completed assignments, reflective journals, and interviews. Building upon Thornton's (1991) work on teachers as "curricular-instructional gatekeepers," the author explores what guided the curricular decision making for the participants and, for the focal students, what discourses they decided to make space for in their first classrooms. Because gender is socially constructed, it is important for future teachers to examine what has contributed to the construction of their own gendered identities in order for them to be able to see how they as individuals and as members of a larger group contribute to the greater society.
Through feminist poststructural discourse analysis, the author finds multiple and competing discourses around the gendered topics of sexual violence and how the students expressed their own genders as connected to culture. Intersections of race and social class with gender and the presence of emotion were important in how the students talked about gender. Also found was the uneven follow-through of implementing practices learned in their teacher education coursework in their first classrooms, and the reluctance of two focal students to include Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) topics in their first classrooms. Additionally, the role of context is considered as essential to the students' decision whether to self-censor.