Date of Award

Spring 2023

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Judy Sharkey

Second Advisor

Svetlana Peshkova

Third Advisor

Tom Schram


Harmful oversights remain in elementary social studies curricula which overlook or misrepresent minoritized communities. This dissertation explores designs for teacher education which address these oversights through community collaborations. This multi-manuscript dissertation is an empirical-conceptual inquiry design (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2009), as it is not purely empirical or conceptual research. This design allows for an independent discussion of each study, while interpreting phenomena across the three chapters. Acknowledging my positionality as a white female, in a predominantly white, female profession, I look to Indigenous and Black scholars, both locally and broadly, to inform my perspective and project design. Using a phenomenological lens and ethnographic approaches, I conducted two empirical studies within two different community-based field experiences through an elementary social studies methods course. Sociocultural considerations of space, socioecological considerations of place, and critical culturally sustaining and revitalizing pedagogy (McCarty & Lee, 2014) provide the theoretical frame for this series of investigations. Guidance from Decolonizing Methodologies (Tuhiwai-Smith, 2021), methods from the fields of S-STEP, Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices, and reflexive thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2021), necessitated attention to self-reflexivity, improvement, and relationships. Researching from the positionality of a traditionally defined teacher educator, I hope to build upon collaborative research scholarship which expands who is considered a teacher educator. These studies investigate teaching practices through community and preservice teacher narratives, which critically explore places as a means of overcoming curricular misconceptions. Findings describe curricular possibilities and limitations, and the implications when these two phenomena clash, what I am conceptualizing as curricular dissonance. I provide evidence of this phenomena in the first two empirical chapters. In my third chapter, I conceptualize this phenomenon as a site for learning through field experiences which confront the tensions inherent in teacher education and curriculum studies, to engage scholars across both fields of research.