Date of Award

Spring 2021

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Paula M. Salvio

Second Advisor

Holly R. Cashman

Third Advisor

Andrew D. Coppens


Schools are becoming more linguistically and racially diverse in K-12 settings, yet there is relatively little research that explores how language teachers incorporate student and community diversities in their pedagogies. Situated at one, northeastern public secondary school in the United States, this research offers a qualitative case study of language pedagogies through an intersectional lens to investigate the mechanisms and contexts through which inequities arise. Data is collected from the following sources: teacher interviews, classroom observations, teachers’ syllabi, and student de-identified work. This study employs intersectionality (Collins & Bilge, 2016; Crenshaw, 1989, 2010) as a primary theoretical lens and critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 2010; Gee, 2014a, 2014b) as a methodological strategy to study the construction and function of discourse in language pedagogies. In each of these analytic contexts, this study examines how intersectional perspectives can illuminate language pedagogy and inform educational research. This work is grounded in the transnational history of the community that carefully depicts the rich cultural, linguistic, and ideological diversity of its residents from pre-colonial eras to the present day. This research offers insight into the power and privilege established by the English language throughout the community’s history and the conflicting values of different groups of residents who established themselves in the area. Findings in this study suggest that language teachers position themselves as sensitive to multilingual student abilities and identities, report limited connection with the local community, and articulate constraints to the operationalization of student race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual identities in their language pedagogies. The use of intersectionality reveals that teachers’ avoidance of characteristics such as gender, sexual identities, race, and ethnicity tends to position White, heteronormativity as advantaged. Additionally, teachers’ distancing from these characteristics suggests that their pedagogies may de-privilege students who do not identify with these identities and can serve as a basis for perpetuating inequity, invisibility, and a lack of inclusion of certain student characteristics. This research intends to inform and support educators, teacher educators, and stakeholders in education as they consider cultural and linguistic plurality, inequalities that arise, and inequities that are sustained or persist across contemporary educational settings.