Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2018 Min Cheng. All rights reserved. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies Department, Sociology & Anthropology Department

First Advisor

Maya Nadkarni

Second Advisor

Lisa Smulyan


"How does one speak objectively, ifwe're talking about someone's comments about sexually assaulting someone? How am I supposed to be like, 'oh, you know, you gotta understand, he's just saying that.' When somebody's not able to condemn white supremacy stuff, how am I supposed to be like 'well, you know, you're entitled to your opinion on that.' Or infowars stuff, where we got people that are denying that shooting massacres actually happened. Like how do I objectively deal with this ifit's nonsense?" —Mr. Holton

In this qualitative study, I find that progressive public school teachers of AP Economics experience a multitude of institutional constraints that are direct descendants of the way that neoliberalism has mapped onto the teaching and structure of AP Economics. One particular constraint that I highlight is the internalization of the cultural narrative of the apolitical teacher. I examine, using semi-structured interviews, how these institutional and cultural constraints have manifested in the AP Economics classrooms of four mid-Atlantic public schools, and how the teachers leading those classrooms view their own agency to use their classrooms as sites for social change.