Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version

Fall 12-19-2014


Gibb, C. L. (2014). The Coveted Souls of Oppressed Persons. PhD Dissertation, University of Nebraska - Lincoln.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Teaching, Curriculum and Learning), Under the Supervision of Professor Karl D. Hostetler. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Connie L. Gibb


Marcus Aurelius (167 A.C.E. III. 16) stated that: “[b]ody, soul, intelligence: to the body belong sensations, to the soul appetites, to the intelligence principles.” In my philosophical inquiry (my play) I argue it isn’t that simple and that the concept of soul is much like what Aristotle (1994, II, 1, 412 a 28) wrote, "The soul, therefore, is the primary act of a physical body potentially possessing life." Or, like Fincher (2007, p. 32) who wrote, “My soul is me, and I own all of my soul’s abilities and experiences…” I also discuss that the intelligence of human beings could enhance the development of their soul, and that all three – soul, intelligence and body are intricate features that separate us from animals and plants.

“The Coveted Souls of Oppressed Persons” might raise some questions when it comes to those active participants within educational environments – educators and students. In my play I argue that oppression is a limiting condition, belief, rule or situation that is forced upon a human being by an outside influence; where the outside influence is either alive, like another human being or inert, like the weather. When oppression becomes the malicious intent to strip a human being of their dignity, dehumanizing them and making them feel disrespected, oppression now becomes coveting.

For the purpose of my play I focus on how an oppressive educational environment could be transformed into a creative, flexible learning environment through the utilization of theatre, which could be a fervent addition that works in conjunction with the standardized curriculum set forth by NCLB [No Child Left Behind] Act of 2002 (Appendix A).

The “soul” purpose of my play is to introduce the use of theatre and, how the use of theatre in conjunction with the standardized curriculum could circumvent an oppressive learning environment. Much like Boal (1979/1985, 1995) who encouraged theatre spectators to become spect-actors, I will argue that the use of theatre could encourage students to become active and soulful participants in a guided student-centered learning environment (Dewey, 1916/2009, 1938, and 1899).

And so my play begins.

Adviser: Karl D. Hostetler