Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Stewart Waters

Committee Members

J. Amos Hatch, Judson Laughter, Ashlee Anderson


Despite the increasingly diverse K-12 study body within the United States (National Center for Education Statistics, 2014) and the numerous examples of racism and racial tension that continue to be exposed through news outlets and social media, race and racism remain at the periphery of social studies teacher education. Although social studies is a discipline whose main goal is citizenship education, race, which has been intertwined with citizenship through U.S. history, continues to be marginalized in social studies curriculum and instruction.

Grounded in critical race theory, I developed a study exploring the perspectives of 11 social studies teacher educators who challenge the status quo within the field and situate race and racism as an important component of social studies teacher education. I investigated why these social studies teacher educators centralize race within the social studies teacher education curriculum and how they work to incorporate race and racism into their curriculum and instruction.

The findings revealed that the participants’ life experiences, concerns with social studies curriculum and pedagogy, and driving passions are the precipitous to their commitment to doing race work in social studies teacher education. Through critical reflection, modeling, and critical analysis, the participants have developed social studies methods courses in which race is threaded throughout the instruction, readings, and assignments. Additionally, the participants have disclosed their positionality about race and racism with their preservice teachers, and they have shared valuable insight into how to begin incorporating race and racism into social studies teacher education for colleagues who desire to join in this work.

The finding suggests implications for social studies teacher education in the theorization of Racial Pedagogical Content Knowledge, continued support of preservice teachers entering the field, and the publication of practitioner-focused manuscripts for social studies teacher educators. Additionally, I call for all social studies teacher educators to advocate for the critical inclusion of race and racism within K-12 state social studies standards. Finally, I emphasize the continued need for the National Council for the Social Studies to lead the field in centralizing race and racism as important components of social studies education.

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