Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Swanson, Diana L.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of English


Literature; Modern; Education--Study and teaching; Gender identity--Study and teaching; Sexual minorities--Study and teaching


This dissertation bridges narrative psychology, pedagogical theory, and the study of marginalized life writing. Narrative psychologists argue that human beings instinctively process their experiences in terms of story, including educational experiences. Literary critics focusing on life writing argue that authors of differing backgrounds produce distinctly different genres of life narrative, evidencing different patterns of thought and reasoning. The principal concern of teaching professionals should be to create an inclusive atmosphere which maximizes the learning potential of a diverse body of students. This means developing educational practices which reflect the diverse ways in which students perceive and relate to the world around them. This dissertation incorporates queer and feminist literary theory and criticism, textual analysis of a variety of autobiographies, memoirs, and personal essays, research on the application of narrative theory to pedagogy, and critical feminist pedagogy. Building on existing research on narrative pedagogy with analysis of the distinct qualities of women's autobiography and queer autobiography, this project suggests changes to both classroom practices and curriculum development. By changing the genre of our educational narratives, we can transform the atmosphere of campuses and classrooms into one in which previously marginalized students are centralized and empowered.


Advisors: Diana L. Swanson.||Committee members: Joe Bonomo; Brad Peters.||Includes bibliographical references.


v, 206 pages




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