Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy In Urban Education Degree


Urban Studies

First Advisor

Clonan-roy, Katie

Second Advisor

Molly Buckley-Marudas

Third Advisor

Jeff Karem


The English Language Arts (ELA) canon has been continuously replicated in K12 education due to the tendency that teachers frequently teach what was taught to them. Current national and state curricula as well as the Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate guidelines and suggestions do not dictate specific texts to be taught, yet many of the suggestions given to high school English teachers perpetuate the use of the Western canon. Outside of the classroom, the world in which our students live is becoming increasingly multimodal which is a contrast to “verbcentric” classrooms. Graphic novels are one answer to integrating the increasingly multimodal world into the classroom; however, they have not been systematically embraced, especially in advanced-level, high school English classrooms. The purpose of this study is to use a qualitative case study to explore perceptions and practices relating to the use of graphic novels in advanced-level high school English classrooms. When teachers persist in using curricular choices such as graphic novels that may not be widely accepted, they are also reshaping how the ELA canon is used in classrooms. By challenging the ELA canon, teachers become change agents by providing students with more diverse literature and creating new pathways of cultural capital.