Mursalata Muhammad, Ph.D. is a 2024 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Mursalata Muhammad at her Dissertation Defense.

From L-R: Harriet Schwartz, Committee Member, Dr. Philomena Essed, Committee Chair, Dr. Shawn Bultsma, Committee Member

Dissertation Committee

  • Philomena Essed, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Harriet Schwartz, PhD, Committee Member
  • Shawn Bultsma, PhD, Committee Member


critical theory, critical race theory, critical theory, education, elementary education, education leadership, education policy, educational reform, feminism, Foucault, grounded theory, higher education, Juneteenth, literacy, politics, secondary education, situational analysis, social problems, tertiary education

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This dissertation project used an interpretivist qualitative research design to study how the right-to-read claim made by seven teenagers attending Detroit public schools in 2016 reflects, addresses, or describes contemporary discussions about educational access. Using situational analysis (SA) as a theory/method, the entirety of the claim comprises the situation of the social phenomenon being studied, not the people. This research combines critical race theory (CRT) with Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems and uses situation analysis to map historical discourses to conduct a study that examines the history of a present situation of inquiry as presented by this question: How does the 2016 right-to-read claim made by high school students in Detroit, Michigan reflect, address, or describe contemporary discussions about educational access? The study collected data to allow me to construct a prosopography that articulates an answer to the question that claims access to literacy is a public school policy right. Because situational analysis (SA) is designed to open research data to aspects of a circumstance that may have been overlooked, marginalized, or silenced, I was not certain the research results would answer this exact question. Additionally, critical theory and SA were used to conduct this qualitative research, examining historical data that addresses the right-to-read claim as a Foucaultian programmatic social problem. As such, it seeks to understand the complexities of recurring and historically situated education practices that limit actualizing U.S. education policies that embrace access to basic literacy skills as a human right. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA ( and OhioLINK ETD Center (


Mursalata Muhammad

ORCID: #0000-0009-3432-2089

Mursalata Muhammad earned her Doctor of Philosophy from Antioch University's Graduate School of Leadership & Change. Her dissertation, "Mapping the Historical Discourse of a Right-to-Read Claim: A Situational Analysis," showcases her interpretivist qualitative research design skills. Dr. Muhammad's work uniquely combines critical race theory with Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory to explore contemporary discussions about educational access.

Dr. Muhammad's academic journey is deeply rooted in her experiences as an educator whose early life was marked by diverse educational environments, from homeschooling to religious private school to attending and graduating from K-12 public schools in Detroit. Her commitment to social justice, intersectionality, and historical consciousness informs her research perspective, emphasizing the importance of humanizing educational practices.

Dr. Muhammad's commitment to improving access to education through research on educational policy positions her as an emerging public scholar whose voice may provide significant insights into the field of education.