Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Miryam Espinosa-Dulanto

Second Advisor

Dr. Rene Corbeil

Third Advisor

Dr. Karin A. Lewis


The goal of this project is to use critical race theory and gendered discourse to shed light on engendered poverty, cultural capital and resilience in efforts to identify how the American educational system affects marginalized groups when the systems of power and privilege were not created for them. It is through a poignant narrative of one of these students (myself) in the educational system that I reflect, recollect, write and interweave my lived curriculum with what the literature says about ethnic experiences like mine. The efforts here serve to analyze the processes of constructing and building social and gender identity through an inclusive, online environment composed of men, women, homosexual and heterosexual online students, all of whom share the online experience with myself in these virtual rooms of academia.

Through this research, I focus on how gender and identity are shaped within an online distance learning environment and how it translates to effective communication within an online classroom, specifically when it deals with how I lived the curriculum and understood my place in the system. I draw from Paulo Freire (1972, 1973) on constructivism and oppression of marginalized groups, Derrick Bell (1970) on Critical Race Theory, Pierre Bourdieu (1991) on cultural capital, and Peter Taubman (1979), Jacques Derida (1967) and Jaques Daignault’s (1992) aspects of the post-structural and de-construction text (discourses) respectively, to further break down the duality between language within opposites. In this way, I was able to analyze the relevance of gender/identity, racial and gender divide (via microaggressions) as it relates to communication and negotiation within an asynchronous and synchronous online medium.

This autoethnographic work is based on a three-year-long exploration in the life of a post-9/11 veteran Latina doctoral student in the United States of America (USA)—navigating the systems of power and privilege in a 100% online setting. The reflective/poetic soliloquies and eventual screenplay denote the frustrations of marginalization through daily writings, journal reflections, and screenplay delivery through an autoethnographic, and ethnographic qualitative method.


Copyright 2019 Maricela Burns. All Rights Reserved.