Multiracial Subject Theory: Lessons in Organizational Praxis

Multiracial Subject Theory: Lessons in Organizational Praxis

University of Washington
180 pages
Publication Number: AAT 3472097
ISBN: 9781124842813

Claire Elizabeth Fraczek

A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy University of Washington

This dissertation investigates racial complexities in higher education through three distinct papers in which I centralize critical pedagogy, leadership development, and organizational change through the lens of multiracial subject theory. Chapter one considers the merits, strategies and limitations of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Critical Whiteness Studies (CWS) as pedagogical tools in higher education contexts. I demonstrate the ways in which monoracial foundations are imbedded in these two approaches and argue that, through a mixed-race analytic, theorists working in the field of CRT and CWS will be better able to analyze the dynamic interplay of race and racial categorizations in ways that benefit a broad spectrum of diverse students, including a growing multiracial student population.

Building on this platform, chapter two highlights research data from a two-year qualitative case study in which one undergraduate group of ten multiracial students initiated, designed and implemented a college course. Here, I argue that these students developed a critical mixed race praxis through intentional, shared leadership, interdisciplinary content, and regular attention to a larger political agenda. Throughout the paper, I consider two central themes: (1) implications of a shared leadership model on college student development, and (2) practical lessons far organizational interventions in higher education pedagogy.

The third paper shifts from student development to that of higher education administrators who seek to build organizational capacity for justice-conscious leadership. Building on the theoretical and empirical data in the previous papers, chapter three articulates a set of criteria by which to define and measure critical mixed race praxes. Through a series of vignettes located in higher education contexts, I highlight timely moments and opportunities for administrators to leverage their multiple subject positions in ways that inform and contribute to critical leadership practices. My analysis cautions against leadership and policy that rely on fixed identity politics to instead emphasize structural and organizational models as methodological tools for praxis.


  • List of Figures
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: (Re)thinking Race: Positioning Multiracial Representations within Critical Pedagogy
  • Chapter Two: Claiming Mixed Classroom Space: Praxis Lessons from an Undergraduate Student Collective
  • Chapter Three: Leadership in Higher Education: Critical Mixed Praxis Lessons
  • Conclusion: From Ideology to Methodology: Addressing Race in Higher Education
  • References
  • Appendix A: Class Syllabus
  • Appendix B: Focus Group Interview Protocol


  1. Critical Race Pedagogies
  2. Critical Mixed Praxis

Purchase the dissertation here.

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