Theses Doctoral

Troubling and Re-Imagining Citizenship: Narrative Inquiries into Immigrant Teachers’ Positionalities and Citizenship Education

Kim, Yeji

Informed by positionalities theories and narrative inquiry, this dissertation study explored how positionalities of immigrant social studies teachers in New York City influenced their interpretations of citizenship and their instructions of citizenship education. To do so, I used interviews, participants’ photographs and activity-works, and a self-reflexive researcher journal as aspects of my data-generating and data-gathering methods. My interpretations suggested that immigrant teachers experienced subjugation and discrimination as well as a sense of vulnerability due to their lack of legal citizenship, along with their minoritized racial/ethnic/linguistic/religious status in current racist, U.S.-centric, and nationalist regimes. However, instead of being passive recipients of such sociopolitical forces, these teachers took agency and created their own ways to actively influence, change, and subvert their minoritized subject positions through their transnational form of activities and attachment to their home country as well as the affinity, commitments, and sense of belonging they forged in local school communities in the United States. The complicated positionalities of these immigrant teachers further allowed them to imagine and practice multiple and alternative concepts of citizenship education that are more relevant to their students from minoritized backgrounds. By complicating essential, static, and fixed notions of immigrant teachers’ experiences and challenging dominant and normative modes of juridical notions of and national belonging in citizenship discourses through these immigrant teachers’ narrativized experiences, this study offers implications for social studies educators, citizenship scholarship, and teacher education policies and practices.

Geographic Areas


Downloadable resources are currently unavailable for this item.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Teaching of Social Studies
Thesis Advisors
Schmidt, Sandra
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 4, 2020