Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Adam Clark

Second Advisor

Nikki Chamblee


Structured by the theoretical framework of intersectionality, this comparative case study traced perceptions of Whiteness in literacy instruction by three queer, transgender or gender expansive (TGE), or cisgender female, Black and/or Latinx middle school students. The study addresses significant gaps in research, which has rarely explored the valence of all aspects of the intersectional identities of this population of middle school literacy learners and tends to perpetuate erasure by adopting single- or multiple-axis lenses to students’ identities. The study was structured by a transferable curriculum crafted around questions, arts-based expressions, and narrative inquiry to support participants’ narrativizing about their intersectional identities, their experiences with Whiteness and perceptions of it inside and outside of school, and their imaginings about what liberatory literacy instruction would look and feel like. The curriculum-as-method demanded researcher autoethnography throughout the study by way of personal narratives. As intersectionality necessitates locality via storytelling, the study sought idea- and question-generation rather than generalizable results. The re-storied narratives-as-results were localized, and in interaction with the reader, speak to the three axes (horizontal, vertical, and transversal) of comparative case study. The study sought to create spaces for participants and researcher alike to creatively express themselves, curiosity, and freedom dreaming in the pursuit of liberating and abolitionist literacy instruction. In addressing existing gaps in research in terms of participants, frameworks, and methods, this study serves as a call to action in the fields of education and literacy studies and its two-pronged process can be modified and implemented by other educators and researchers.