Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Kenneth R. Howe

Second Advisor

Margaret A. Eisenhart

Third Advisor

Alison M. Jaggar

Abstract

Gender and education, as an issue of equity, has predominantly been framed as a concern about schooling the girls. However, in recent years, a growing concern for boys and their education has emerged in most Western countries, making headlines in mainstream US media with little oppositional response from high profile voices and US educational researchers. If media headlines and parental and educator concerns are right, we are in the midst of a "boy crisis" as a result of years of feminist interventions for girls at the expense of boys. Shifting attention to boys and invoking the notion of a generalized "boy crisis" creates an oversimplification in which many complexities are subsumed. Through my analyses in this dissertation, I aim to unravel some of these complexities of gender and schooling and identify a possible way forward that promotes justice. Using a lens of feminist political philosophy, I argue for a transformational gender agenda, grounded in justice, for schooling to benefit both boys and girls in their academic, social, and political development. I continue and contribute to an already rich discussion of theory, politics, and educational policy and practice by providing an improved understanding of how to conceive of and foster gender justice, focusing on schools as sites in which asymmetries of power are played out, which helps us to identify effective strategies for tackling inequalities in schools.

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