Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of English: English Studies

Committee Chair

Janice Neuleib


This dissertation reports the results of a qualitative research project investigating an approach to composition instruction in a high school social studies course that is based on the Upanishadic concept of tat tvam asi (you are that). Research for this study was conducted while I taught a section of Non-West History to high school juniors and seniors. This dissertation addresses the issues involved in the teaching of writing in a high school social science course. Specifically it focuses on the issues involved when a teacher attempts to construct a class that engages students to read and write in ways that promote empathic understanding of the other. To make this argument, I collected data in the Non-West History courses that I taught in 2012. The data consists largely of writing prompts I gave students dealing with literature we read and films we watched as well as their written responses. This dissertation argues that writing in a social science class should not be limited to research papers and essay tests. Further, this dissertation agues (citing the work of Jeremy Rifkin, J. Krishnamurti, Carl Rogers, Rollo May, Thomas Merton, and S. Radhakrishnan) that writing assignments should also be given that promote the empathic awareness that the self is the other. Further, I will offer a counter notion that writing in Social Studies classes should not be just about "conveying information" or "demonstrating knowledge" (cf. Kiuhara et al. 150). Instead, writing should be used to give students the opportunities to creatively develop new insights about their place in the world. Thus, this dissertation concludes by proposing a new model for the teaching of writing in a high school social science course.


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