Siew Sim Chin

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Ilsley, Paul J.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Adult education of women; Adult education of women--Religious aspects--Bahai Faith; Transnationalism; Transnational education


Adult education research in the United States lacks a transnational approach that is capable of revealing the dimensions of how people engage in learning beyond borders. This study approaches adult education through the intersection of transnationality and spirituality, lending new insights and contributions to the literature base of adult education research. It asks the questions, What is the nature of becoming transnational, what essential dimensions convey the transnational experience, and what are some of the key connections between transformative learning and transnationality? Using a phenomenological conceptual framework, this study seeks to address these questions through the lived experience of transnational lives and adult education of twelve women who are adherents of the Baha’i religion. The transnational nature of the Baha’i Faith is examined along the five dimensions of deterritorialization and reterritorialization, religious transnational networks, “glocalization,” hybrid and nonexclusionary identity, and borderlands. The findings are discussed under three major themes: religious, relational, and citizenship imagination. The religious imagination captures the nature and process of how the Baha’i worldview provided the space and channel for these women to act with social agency in a transnational context. The relational imagination reveals key facets of their transnational experiences outside the United States as the other and, at the same time, intentional efforts to cultivate a capacity for otherness. The citizenship imagination lends insights into narratives of experiencing and belonging beyond the borders of the United States as global citizens. These three major lines of imaginations have implications on expanding the borders of transformative learning as it pertains to spirituality, transnational lives, and educating for global consciousness. The study concludes by underscoring the point that for adult education to be a platform of social change, it needs to engage in the discourse of cultivating wider loyalties and expanded vision such that it opens up sites of possibilities beyond prescribed notions and borders of knowing and learning.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [192]-203).


x, 206 pages




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