International Graduate Students’ Positionality in a U.S. Critical Multicultural Education Course


  • Tasneem Amatullah Emirates College for Advanced Education
  • Brittany Aronson Miami University
  • Gul Rind Miami University



critical multicultural education, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sociocultural identities


This study describes the experience of four international students after taking a class in critical multicultural education at a predominantly white institution in the Midwest, U.S. Utilizing narrative inquiry and narrative coding to analyze students’ positionality papers, the researchers found two overarching themes: (1) Prior Experiences and (2) Perspectives on multicultural identities, with several sub-themes. The first overarching theme, prior experiences, has three sub-themes that reflect students’ identities in relation to their sociocultural backgrounds: (a) origin and national identity (b) family background and exposure (c) education and sociocultural experiences. The second overarching theme, perspectives on multicultural identities has five sub-themes that emerged from students’ personal learning and through socialization: (a) race and ethnicity (b) religion (c) gender and sexuality (d) class and privilege, and (e) culture shock. We conclude with a discussion of the findings and implications for this work.


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Author Biographies

Tasneem Amatullah, Emirates College for Advanced Education

Tasneem Amatullah,PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Emirates College for Advanced Education (ECAE), United Arab Emirates. She teaches school effectiveness, improvement and evaluation and capacity building courses. Her research centers on educational leadership and policy analysis around the globe, and issues of equity, social justice, women in leadership, and has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals. Currently, she is working on projects focusing on leadership licensure, professional development of teachers and leaders, while expanding her research on Muslim women leadership across the globe (Canada, USA, GCC countries and India). She holds a PhD in Educational Leadership from Miami University, USA.

Brittany Aronson, Miami University

Brittany Aronson is an Assistant Professor in Sociocultural Studies in Education at Miami University. She teaches classes in sociocultural foundations, sociology of education, and multicultural education. In her scholarship, she focuses on preparing educators to work against oppressive systems as well as critical policy analyses of both popular and political discourse. Her research interests include critical teacher preparation, social justice education, critical race theory, critical whiteness studies, and educational policy. Dr. Aronson earned a PhD in Learning Environments and Educational Studies from the University of Tennessee in 2014.

Gul Rind, Miami University

Gul Rind is a Ph.D. student in Educational Leadership, Culture, and Curriculum at the Department of Educational Leadership, Miami University. He worked for 5 years at school and college level in Pakistan. He taught Educational Leadership, Educational Change, and Policy studies courses. His interest in research includes Leadership for equity and social justice, Educational policy, and comparative international education.


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2021-08-03 — Updated on 2021-08-04

How to Cite

Amatullah, T., Aronson, B., & Rind, G. . (2021). International Graduate Students’ Positionality in a U.S. Critical Multicultural Education Course. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 13(Summer), 180–205.