All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jeremiah Clabough

Advisory Committee Members

Andrew Baer

Jenna Lachenaye

Michele J Sims

Susan Spezzini

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


This qualitative case study explored how perspective writing, in the form of historical dialogues, had the potential to help high school students in an urban school develop historical empathy skills. The study took place in an 11th grade United States history class where three types of data, interviews with the teacher, observation field notes, and student work, were collected over one school semester. Findings indicate that when presented with counter-narratives that introduce the experiences of groups that have been historically marginalized through U.S. history, students are more easily able to make personal connections and empathize with people from the past. In addition, when writing historical dialogues, students faced challenges contextualizing the past due to finding it difficult to avoid presentism. This was especially true when writing about issues such as racism, gender roles, and injustice as well as writing dialogues between historical figures who were of the same race, culture, and/or gender. Another finding suggested that, through the analysis of primary sources, high school students were able to understand that people from the past were influence by factors such as race, politics, economics, and the historical era.

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