Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Terrie Epstein

Committee Members

Michelle Fine

David Connor

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Disability and Equity in Education | Educational Psychology | Gender Equity in Education | Public Health | Special Education and Teaching | Women's Health


gender, queer, alcoholics anonymous, narrative medicine, pedagogy


This dissertation analyzes sober women’s narratives of their schooling experiences to reflect on how educators and policy makers can improve the schooling experiences for othered students.. Inspired by the self-reflective and agentic pedagogy found within the figured world of Alcoholics Anonymous, I focused on the narratives of women in Alcoholics Anonymous, ages 18-85, as they narrated their schooling stories from pre-Kindergarten up to the last grade they completed. What the data of this qualitative research project reveals is that, despite the detrimental culture of denial at home and school, the participants, through the radical act of self-reflexivity and personal narrative, authored their experiences of resiliency, which are invaluable messages for our students both in and outside of the physical boundaries of school. The implications of this research include the importance of teaching self-reflexivity in teacher-training, questioning our social location and our personal definitions of “normalcy,” when considering what is “wrong” with our students who learn differently, and how the institution of public health and education can be in better conversation with each other in order to best support the complex needs of our students.