Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Anna Stetsenko

Committee Members

Limarys Caraballo

Beth Ferholt

Shibao Guo

Anthony Picciano

Subject Categories

Adult and Continuing Education | Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching | Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Disability and Equity in Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Language and Literacy Education | Philosophy | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social Justice


pedagogy, silence, inclusion, unknowing, women of color feminist, dialogical


The nonprofit education of adult immigrants is an under-researched aspect of U.S. education. Adult immigrants, often perceived as passive and quiescent, bring voices and contributions to learning in powerful yet unheard ways. This research agenda invokes a new critical lens in education scholarship to uplift and center these contributions as a coalitional, dialogical project. Drawing upon critical sociocultural, women of color feminist, and poststructual theories, critical intersectional epistemology, and Bakhtinian dialogical thinking, this research project pursues inductive, recursive meaning making as an innovative exploration. A multiphase, sequential study including surveys and two focus groups foregrounds the complex, fluid ways adult immigrants make meaning as student-contributors in research. Silence notably contributes meaning in this process. This unique composite design advances insights toward education research and practice which is dialogic, ethical, and transformative, constituting a paradigm shift in education with, as well as for, adult immigrants. I will ultimately argue that adult education can be a place of resistance, creativity, and coalitional thinking with immigrant students as a shared project for social justice. I will also demonstrate my emerging scholarly stance of radical unknowing, a feminist, activist educational posture that interrogates the authority of White, North American-born scholars through ongoing reflexivity and accountability in working across communities and contexts.