Stories and Bodies: Reading and Writing White Femininity

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Stories and Bodies: Reading and Writing White Femininity

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The histories and structures that undergird teachers’ positions in schools are deeply entrenched in colonial, racist, patriarchal and classist ways of being. The unique historical and political phenomenon of white women’s overwhelming presence in education has harnessed constructions of white femininity (as caring, innocent, and inherently good) to the colonial project of nation building. Tasked to legitimate and uphold hierarchies of power while remaining subservient to them, white women teachers have been disciplined and produced in particular ways. This contradiction lives in our bodies and through our stories. As a white woman teacher, I use critical autoethnography (Boylorn & Orbe, 2013) to engage with the question: What dangerous histories live in and through my schooled body? My study explores three important episodes in my relationship with teaching and learning and attempts to dynamically foreground different concerns (social class, race, and gender) in considering the entanglement of white femininity within them. This work illuminates the importance of stories and bodies in critical anti-racist work and uses stories as tools in intersectional analysis.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.July 2016. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Timothy Lensmire. 1 computer file (PDF); iv, 131 pages.

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Coffee, Angela. (2016). Stories and Bodies: Reading and Writing White Femininity. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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