Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Bruce Uhrmacher, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Nicholas Cutforth

Third Advisor

Paul Michalec

Fourth Advisor

Bin Ramke


Adoption, Alterity, Identity, Poststructuralism, Self-portraiture, Vietnam War


This study examines the journey of a Vietnam War adoptee and the multitude of experiences that influenced her alterity. Through the development of a poststructuralist conceptual framework, the author reveals a philosophy of difference realized by philosophers such as Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Jean-François Lyotard, and Jacques Derrida. Using the method of self-portraiture, the author illustrates how this philosophy of difference was shaped as a result of her experiences and how those experiences have informed her engagement or disengagement throughout her K-12 and post-secondary education, her work as a student, and her beliefs as an educator. The study focuses upon and addresses the themes of identity, adoption, family, education, racism, rejection, and their perpetuation of difference. More importantly, the work itself, written through a series of narrative vignettes, depicts the impact of the philosophy of difference in the author's life, which contributed to her approach to the method utilized in the study as a response to her struggles with the aforementioned themes. It is as much a creative, non-fiction writing dissertation as it is a research dissertation, which lends itself to the poststructural philosophies described therein. As a whole, the work is reflective of a search for identity and the implications of being a Vietnam War adoptee who has learned the true value of alterity manifested through personal experience and actualized through the manipulation of language guided by poststructuralism.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Joie Norby Lê

File size

219 p.

File format





Educational Philosophy, Pedagogy, Creative Writing