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UBC Theses and Dissertations

To be broken open : a critical inquiry into international service learning and global engagement Grain, Kari


This manuscript dissertation consists of four independent but interconnected body chapters, framed by an introduction and conclusion, which offer scholarly grounding in the service-learning literature and a discussion of complexities and tensions of this research. Each chapter illustrates a different fragment of a research story about the impacts of service-learning and global engagement. Collectively, they pull back the curtain on the research process through not only a participatory photovoice study that set out to explore the community impacts of international service-learning in Kitengesa, Uganda, but also an exploration of: a) the literature in social justice-oriented service-learning, b) analysis of photovoice data, and c) a vulnerable, artistic narrative about the researcher’s experience with a critical injury that occurred during her fieldwork in Uganda. This research is shared through different studies and laid out in the same temporal order that it occurred. Chapter 2 is comprised of a literature review and a theoretical conceptualization of the “Social Justice Turn”. Chapter 3 shares data and participant-led analysis from a collaborative photovoice study conducted in Uganda. Photos and their analyses, contained in the captions, are presented in the same manner that the Ugandan participant-researchers chose for their local photo exhibition in March 2017. Ten days after that exhibition, the researcher had a critical accident in Uganda that catalyzed the creation of Chapter 4. Chapter 4 uses bricolage to piece together diverse data from her injury, which was a culmination of an E. coli infection, malaria, a broken jaw and broken hands. This piece demonstrates the importance of the researcher’s body in the construction of knowledge, the generation of relationships, and the interrogation of embodied politics in global settings. Chapter 5 shares selected findings of the photovoice research displayed in Chapter 3, but in a format more suited for academic scholarship, illuminating relationships as a key impact of an international service-learning program hosted in Kitengesa. This dissertation extends the scholarship in service-learning, casting a focus on the host community perceptions and highlighting the methodological and epistemological importance of the researcher’s body and the many relationships that comprise the core of collaborative and embodied participatory research.

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