In this study I drawn upon Critical Whiteness frameworks and a deconstructionist historiographical method to explore tensions between espoused and enacted ‘integrationist’ values within the Pennsylvania State University’s College of Education in the decade following Brown v. Board (1954-1963). This site-specific historical approach is a response to the fact that the vast majority of higher education scholarship exploring the history of the Civil Rights era focuses on Southern institutions and their overt struggles over desegregation and racial integration. This focus is warranted given the dramatic and often violent nature of this period of Southern history, but it may serve to obscure more subtle patterns of re-segregation, sidelining, and marginalization of Black concerns on Northern campuses. By examining the curriculum and doctoral dissertations from Penn State’s College of Education through a Critical Whiteness frame, this study contributes to recent scholarship of Northern colleges that seeks to disrupt the overly simplistic master narrative of peaceful campus racial integration, and calls for Northern colleges to recognize, grapple with, and atone for their own histories.
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Watts, A. (2019). Disturbing the dream of integration: Critical whiteness and the history of Penn State’s College of Education. Journal of Critical Scholarship on Higher Education and Student Affairs, 5(2), 7-21.