Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy





First Advisor

Isaac H. Gottesman

Second Advisor

Katy M. Swalwell


Paper One: Employing disciplinary inquiry practices to support social justice-oriented civic goals: The opportunities and constraints afforded in exemplary elementary teaching

Abstract: This paper reports findings of one case of a larger multi-case study. The paper highlights the opportunities and constraints present in the activity system of one exemplary elementary teacher who uses historical inquiry practices to support the social justice-oriented civic goals she holds for her students. Her work offers insight into promising connections between disciplinary inquiry practices and social justice education particular to elementary teaching and but it also reveals important constraints to consider that are prevalent enough to limit even an exemplary elementary social studies teacher’s social justice practice.

Paper Two: Economics education through a historian’s task and not the master’s tools

Abstract: This paper highlights the opportunities and constraints present in the activity system of a 7th grade social studies teacher with social justice oriented civic goals who uses historical inquiry practices to support a critical inquiry of economic systems. His work offers insight into promising opportunities into the uses of historical inquiry practices in interdisciplinary economics units with social justice intent. It also illustrates the critical importance of organizing frameworks for justice in both teaching and learning.

Paper Three: The case of the high school history teacher who wanted to include Ferguson in classroom inquiry but chose not to.

Abstract: This paper reports the case of Thelma, a veteran high school history teacher, who charges herself and her curriculum with helping students navigate contemporary race-related events through historical inquiry. In the end, however, Thelma chooses to not fully engage in these goals. This paper highlights the constraints she experienced and the choices she made within her teaching context. This paper speaks towards calls in the field to more fully understand teacher practices related to inquiry and social justice pedagogy.


Copyright Owner

Jennifer Lynn Gallagher



File Format


File Size

192 pages