Douglas Terry

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Michael Germana

Committee Co-Chair

John Ernest

Committee Member

Rosemary Hathaway

Committee Member

Brian Luskey

Committee Member

Timothy Sweet


This dissertation is a cultural study that challenges the handling of race in the history of American education by exploring how educational discourse shapes race. It argues that education itself is a manifestation of race, inseparable from the iterative processes of racial formation. While we take it as a prevailing truism that race is learned, this dissertation shows how the educational system itself is central to this learning.;It explores race in the educational landscape in a similar way to how scholars explore tension between history and cultural memory. In this manner, the dissertation focuses on what it terms "sites of education", the culturally designed points within schools and outside them where racial identity is negotiated at junctures where differing ideas about education converge. As participants are attracted to educational sites, the structures, texts, and social roles that reproduce race are likewise caught in their vortex. Educational sites could be physical places, like schools and classrooms, or they could be cultural sites such as the common school and industrial education movements. Their dynamics demonstrate not only how racial ideology underlies American education in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries but also how it recurs, manifesting across geographically and temporally distant sites outside schools, as well as within them.;This project examines the overlapping discourses of race, education, and American nationhood across interrelated educational sites spanning the nineteenth century and early-twentieth century through the texts that they produce.