Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education and Human Services


Educational Foundations

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Jeremy Price

Committee Member

Kathryn Herr

Committee Member

Douglas Larkin


Achieving a sense of identity includes not only the ability to know and understand oneself as an individual, but recognizing one's particular place in society. Adolescents of Asian Indian descent carry the burden of straddling two different cultures, two different worlds; often switching between the two in order to know and understand oneself, and be known and understood. While their social location suggests a middle class status and privilege, their appearance signifies a racial ethnic identity. The conflict therefore lies in the acceptance of dual cultural identities and sense of self, and how the same is negotiated through their everyday lived experiences particularly through the institution of the U.S. public school. This qualitative study explored the nuanced meanings of what it meant to be of Asian Indian descent in U.S. public school and the broader context of society. The findings suggest that the adolescents were capable of negotiating their identities in response to changing socio- cultural and educational scenarios. Acceptance and negotiation of a bicultural identity enabled the adolescent Asian Indian Americans to compartmentalize their lives into public and private spheres; the public sphere of Asian Indian and American cultures and the private sphere of Asian Indian ethnicity.

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