Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Joseph R. Miles

Committee Members

Brent S. Mallinckrodt, Gina P. Owens, Tricia M. Redeker-Hepner


This study explored the experiences of six students in an intergroup dialogue (IGD) course focused on nationality, using a phenomenological approach by Thomas and Pollio (2002 ) derived from the philosophy of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty (1962). Intergroup dialogue is a form of pedagogy that brings together people from different social identity groups with a history of conflict between them, in order to build relationships across groups, develop critical awareness of social issues, and work towards social justice. Three participants identified as foreign-born, and three as U.S.-born. Participants were interviewed using a phenomenological approach and interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. Participants also kept weekly reflection journals as part of their course requirement. Data was analyzed in the following order: 1) identifying meaning units, (2) putting meaning units into the four main grounds of body, time, others, and world, (3) clustering meaning units into themes, and (4) creating a thematic structure. National Identity and Family Background was an important contextual ground. Four themes emerged: Comfort Zone/Out of the Comfort Zone, Just a Human Being, Learning with Us, and Taking It Outside. Themes are discussed in relation to IGD theory. Implications for research and practice of IGD are discussed.

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