Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

William Pinar

Second Advisor

Petra Munro


Defined by customs of femininity, women who transcend those definitions find it difficult to represent themselves in a comprehensible manner. The contradictions between the actual activities of life and the demands of femininity require woman to adopt unique approaches to self-representation in order to be accepted. Tied to the biological functions of their bodies through images in the media and social institutions, as well as their internalized images, women often find trying to represent themselves beyond or against their body problematic. The female body is presented as controller of destiny, both through beauty and motherhood requirements. Women often create representations of themselves which fit projected male desire and gaze, rather then their internal beliefs and aspirations, and so become alienated from themselves early in life. Autobiographical work provides a possibility to move towards overcoming this alienation. Many questions are raised in the process of composing and editing autobiography which reveal different perspectives in one's own life story. What is included, what is left out and how are the decisions are made all affect the final version of the life-story told. The conflict between what women are taught through cultural practices and their views of themselves pose contradictions, the tensions of which create a space for self-reflective exploration. Autobiographical work provides the possibility of disrupting the male ordered, patriarchal systems of thought, especially in regards to the ways women think about themselves. Likewise, photography might be used as an alternative approach in autobiography to create self-representational images to counter the images which surround women. This dissertation examines issues of gender and representation for women. It explores the possibilities of employing other forms of representation, specifically photography, to provide alternative approaches to constructing autobiography. Alternative autobiographic techniques in curriculum theory and teacher education might provide new insights into the lives of women teachers and their relationship to the students they teach.