Interrogating (Hi)stories

Establishing the Educational Relevance of Spiritual Development Through Critical Historiography

by Audrey Lingley (Author)
©2014 Monographs XIV, 250 Pages
Series: Critical Qualitative Research, Volume 12


In Interrogating (Hi)stories, Audrey Lingley uses a critical constructivist perspective to problematize the absence of the spiritual dimension of human growth from pedagogical models that emphasize responsiveness to developmental psychology. The book investigates this conspicuous absence through critical historiographical research; it is a critical interrogation of the tacit understandings that guide education in general and middle grades reform in particular. The author offers practical, classroom-based implications and culturally respectful language for educators who believe spirituality is a legitimate aspect of human growth and learning in a public school setting.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • Advance praise for INTERROGATING (HI)STORIES
  • More advance praise for INTERROGATING (HI)STORIES
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Foreword by Shirley Steinberg
  • References
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Critical Constructivist Research in Education
  • Perceiving the Politics of Spirituality in Education
  • Pathways to Research Design
  • Principles of Critical Constructivism
  • Critical Historiography in Educational Research
  • Chapter Two: Caring as Advocacy in the Middle Grades
  • Value of Including the Spiritual Domain
  • The Field of Middle Grades Education
  • Translating Developmental Theory Into Educational Practice
  • Alienation in the Middle Grades
  • The Middle Grades Concept Through the Lens of Critical Constructivism
  • Chapter Three: Excluding the Spiritual Dimension From Developmentally Responsive Education
  • Middle Grades Connection to the Field of Developmental Psychology
  • Spirituality as a Developmental Domain
  • Holistic Education
  • Holistic Education Through the Lens of Critical Constructivism
  • Chapter Four: A Research Design for Interrogating the (Hi)stories
  • Principles of Critical Historiography
  • Techniques of Critical Historiography
  • Research Design for Critical Historiography of Relevance of Spiritual Development
  • Research Integrity
  • Chapter Five: Research Methods Illustrated
  • Meta-Analysis: Data Collection/Text Selection
  • Middle Grades Education Data Set:
  • Spirituality as a Developmental Domain Data Set:
  • Holistic Education Data Set:
  • Critical Interpretation: Initial and Focused Coding
  • Critical Interpretation: Contrapuntal Reading
  • Chapter Six: Paradigms of the (Hi)stories
  • Prevalent Paradigms
  • Middle Grades Concept
  • Spirituality as a Domain of Human Development
  • Holistic Education
  • Chapter Seven: Dynamic of Paradox
  • Common Meta-Paradigms Across the Three Fields
  • Dynamic of Paradox
  • Chapter Eight: Establishing the Relevance of Spiritual Development in Education
  • Summary of Results
  • Conclusions
  • Educational Relevance: Caring Relations and Constructivist Learning
  • Cultural-Historical Relevance: Paradigm Shift
  • Methodological Relevance: On the Nature of Findings
  • Implications
  • Middle Grades Education
  • Educational Research
  • Chapter Nine: A Discourse of Possibility
  • The Purpose and Promise of Education
  • Changing What One Knows: Spiritually Responsive Pedagogy
  • Changing Who One Is: Integrating Political Identity With Spiritual Commitments
  • Appendices
  • Appendix A. Summary of Research Activities
  • Appendix B. Initial Coding Table Artifact
  • Appendix C. Focused Coding Table Artifact
  • Appendix D. Two Paradigm Narratives With Extensive In-Text and Parenthetical Citations
  • A. From Middle Grades Concept data set:
  • B. From Spirituality as a Developmental Domain data set:
  • Appendix E. Analytic Tool for Exploring Relationships Between Inter-Discursive and Inter-Textual Patterns
  • References

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Once an event, an utterance, a flutter of a bird’s wing happens…. It’s gone.

As the avatars modernist education molds us to be, we’ve been schooled to be consumers and proclaimers of history, philosophy, culture, and truth. Some of the education we were programed with is pretty good. And we become moderately educated individuals. In fact, we become professors, scholars, recorders, and writers of more history, philosophy, culture, and truth. I contend that while many of us are often taught “critical” thinking, inventive ways to think deeper, sometimes even to deconstruct, our learning (how we are educated) skirts the surface. I don’t know what type of statistic I would need to triangulate my observation, but I’d be glad to wager my first born (with his agreement, of course) that the notion of informed research fails to investigate the etymology, the essence, the historiographical essence of an event, an utterance, nor a flutter of a bird’s wing. We are often historiographically ignorant, spiritually devoid of the depth to which any incident, consequence, or breath takes place. Indeed, it is the interrogation of taking place which historiography interrogates…taking place—the occurrence, and investigating how the taking place came to be, and…asking: Who recorded it? Why was it recorded? How was it recorded? What is the relevance? What structures were in place to enact the recording (Kincheloe, 1991)?

Audrey Lingley’s uniquely crafted volume, Interrogating (Hi)stories: Establishing the Educational Relevance of Spiritual Development Through Critical Historiography challenges scholars and students to revisit the construction of their knowledges and to create a personal paradigm with which to humanize, understand the taking of place, and to interrogate the spiritual relevance of a critical historiography. Other than the latter sentence being wordy, possibly run-on, it is the crux on which the point of this book hangs: Critical Historiography is a time-travel, which takes the researcher, the knowledge seeker to the time before an occurrence. This journey is filled with an agenda to textually fill in the ← ix | x → gaps of the knowledge, which precedes the actual artifact/event. And this agenda is intellectual, it is political, and it is spiritual.

Without going into philosophical esoteric speak, I’ll mention one of my favorite historiographical/spiritual anecdotes, avoiding the obligatory citations; as we all know, one can check it out on Wikipedia, the ultimate a-historiographical “reference” tool in a simulacra-contrived research barren, dare I say, postmodern world. Sometime in the first century after what is known as the Christian Era, a Jew, a historian, Josephus, was commissioned by Titus, the son of the Roman emperor, to write a history of the Jews. Josephus devoted his life to his commission. In fact, two millennia later, the history(ies) of the Jewish people are often drawn from Josephus’ voluminous works. When we search the books for the history and life of the man called Jesus, we find only 16 lines out of this 8-volume tome. The life of Jesus is historicized by the royal court’s historian in these 16 lines. More space was given to discussing the life of a man called James, the brother of Jesus. Josephus eventually was granted Roman citizenship for his services (Steinberg, 2008).

So what critical historiographical layers are smoldering under near-vanished historical ashes? This short reference to Jesus in Josephus’ history of the Jews is a sobering realization of just how “accurate” anything called history can be. My research persona relates to the personal first, even when involved in scholarship. One must consider that the words, deeds, and history attributed to this being, Jesus, converted, occupied, manipulated, conquered, murdered, and molded much of an entire planet for over two thousand years, and the effects, the history of this being, are imprinted in a metaphorical History of the Earth. What could explain a fervor so fierce that billions of humans have devoted their lives to these 16 lines from an 8-volume set of books, written surely, by an informed historian, devoted to speaking the truth?

Historiography insists that we interrogate not the event, but the recording of the event, who recorded it, how, and why. Critical historiography pushes us further to the ever-suspicious questioning of how power served in the creation of the history. In the case of Josephus, we must ask: Why did Titus want a “history” of the Jews? Why was Josephus selected? How was Josephus instructed? ← x | xi → What was left out of this history? Why were references to Jesus so brief, as compared to the rest of the history? Why would Josephus, a Jew, take this commission? Why would he accept Roman citizenship? What powers were behind this entire undertaking?

Critical historiography reminds us that there are no certainties, guarantees, witnesses, nor accuracies in the retelling of a possible historical event. Indeed, questioning whether or not the event ever occurred underpins the criticality of our investigation (Kincheloe, 2001). This doesn’t discount the importance of attempts to record the past, but creates a healthy tentativeness, which informs our understanding of how knowledge is created, how people learn, and how “truths” are born (Kincheloe & Steinberg, 1993). Critical interrogation and suspicion should not be taken as cynical, but as rigorous research. Audrey Lingley accomplishes just that in this compelling and unique book.

Shirley R. Steinberg


Kincheloe, J. L. (1991). Educational historiographical meta-analysis: Rethinking methodology in the 1990s. Qualitative Studies in Education, 4(3), 231–245.

Kincheloe, J. L. (2001). Describing the Bricolage: Conceptualizing a new rigor in qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry, 7(6), 679–692.

Kincheloe, J. L., & Steinberg, S. R. (1993). A tentative description of post-formal thinking: The critical confrontation with cognitive theory. Harvard Educational Review, 63(3), 296–321.

Steinberg, S. R. (2008). Christotainment: Selling Jesus through popular culture. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Shirley R. Steinberg is Research Chair and Professor of Youth Studies, and Director of The Werklund Foundation Centre for Youth Studies Education at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

| xiii →


In the spring of 2013, I was browsing the Peter Lang booth at AERA in San Francisco when I saw on the counter a business card for Shirley Steinberg. Her name had been on my mind, as I had recently completed a major research project that, in design and spirit, was an homage to her late partner, Joe Kincheloe. During my research design process, I had looked up Kincheloe, a scholar whose work I was increasingly falling in love with the more I read. I discovered he had died a few years before, and read an obituary that described what a vibrant and joyful presence he had been in his various communities of practice. He was sorely missed by many after his unexpected passing. I intended to write Shirley, as Joe’s proxy, a note of acknowledgment of and gratitude for his life and work. I delayed contact, however, out of a combination of shyness and the pressing nature of the daily demands borne of parenting, teaching, writing, and self-care.

Standing at the Peter Lang booth on that April afternoon, I asked the young man behind the counter if Shirley Steinberg was present. He pointed to a table a few feet away, and for a moment, I was stunned to realize I had the opportunity to thank her in person. When I tentatively approached her, I inquired, “Excuse me, but are you the Shirley Steinberg who was married to Joe Kincheloe?” She straightened right up, growing a full foot in the process, and pronounced, “I AM married to Joe Kincheloe.” And I knew in that moment my shy hesitation was unwarranted; she would understand why I wanted to convey my deep appreciation for the man who mentored me, in spirit, through a complex and transformative research process.

Thank you Joe Kincheloe, for leaving behind such a rich and authentic body of scholarship for those of us who seek to promote educational experiences grounded in compassion, justice, love, and empowerment for all students. Consider this work a deep bow in your memory. Thank you Shirley Steinberg for encouraging me to make my own contribution through this book and for offering me the most powerful endorsement I could hope for by including Interrogating (Hi)stories in the Critical Qualitative Research Series. ← xiii | xiv → Sophie Appel, Stephen Mazur, and Chris Myers at Peter Lang offered generous guidance during the production process, and I am indebted to them for their kindness and clarity. Amy Botula read an early draft of the manuscript, and offered essential feedback from her experiences as a high school English teacher, journalism advisor, writer, and advocate for adolescent learners.

I am incredibly fortunate to be part of an academic community of peers with whom I share intellectual intimacy. The hearts and minds of Bernd Ferner, Sarah Lundy, Edgar Solares, Katie Toppel, and Jennifer Wells are present in this work, and I am grateful to them for their steadfast support and confidence. This book grew from my dissertation research at Portland State University. I wish to acknowledge the important contributions of the members of my committee—Micki M. Caskey, Samuel Henry, Yves Labissiere, Dot McElhone, and Karen Noordhoff (chair)—who provided me with extensive feedback and wisdom during my time as a doctoral student. I am grateful for their leadership and for shepherding a process that was imbued with trust, respect, and joy. I am especially in debt to Karen Noordhoff, to whom this book is dedicated, for her academic career as a scholar of spiritual integrity. Olivia Murray and Dilafruz Williams offer friendship and compassionate solidarity, and I am grateful for their presence in my life at PSU.

Finally, I thank my husband, Jon Emens, and our daughters, Lucy and Maya, for our life together as a family. My work has integrity because of the strong bonds of our family.

Audrey Lingley
January, 2014

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XIV, 250
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2014 (December)
human growth spirituality developmental psychology constructivist perspective
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 250 pp., num. ill.

Biographical notes

Audrey Lingley (Author)

Audrey Lingley, EdD, has worked as a social studies classroom teacher, curriculum developer, and middle school administrator since 1995. Currently, she is Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Portland State University.


Title: Interrogating (Hi)stories