UW-Madison Professor Thomas Popkewitz and a cohort of 11 graduate students from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction traveled to Europe recently to take part in a joint research seminar with graduate students at Malmö University in Sweden.
The seminar, which ran Nov. 30 through Dec. 3, was called “Disrupting Good Intentions of Social Inclusion.”
“Such exchanges help one to think beyond provincial borders and the theoretical nationalism that often accompanies research,” says Popkewitz. “It provides a context for graduate students to learn about different intellectual cultures and to present their own contributions to a broader field of younger scholars.”
The seminar was organized to promote intellectual discussions around the students’ research. The conversations explored: theoretical and methodological issues of research; issues about educational reform, diversity and inequality in different nations; models of curriculum, pedagogy and social exclusion; and the history of social and the education sciences as cultural “actors” in designing how curriculum and children are seen and acted on in schools.
Explored as well were the different national formats for graduate education.
Malmö University is located across the straits from Copenhagen, Denmark, and is the home of large immigrant populations from North Africa and South Asia.
“The diverse population of Malmö and the current political situation in Europe related to immigration and national policy provided one vantage point in the discussions that ranged across Asia, South America, Europe and the United States,” says Popkewitz.
Popkewitz’s doctoral students in curriculum and global studies who attended the seminar in Sweden are a diverse group of scholars. The Ph.D. students are from China, Ecuador, Iran, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States. The seminar also included graduate students, four faculty members and an associate dean for research from Malmö University, which funded the UW-Madison contingent’s visit to Sweden.
“The seminar represented a rare opportunity in graduate studies,” said Popkewitz. “As graduate student and faculty interests across the Department of Curriculum and Instruction become more international in focus, such experiences provide a significant opportunity to explore educational issues cross-culturally and nationally. The seminar also allowed the students to establish important ties for future collaboration.”
The doctoral students from UW-Madison who attended the seminar in Sweden include: Sun Young Lee, Giconda Coello, Feiran Dong, Jingying Feng, Kai-yung Hsiao, Christopher Kirchgasler, Kathleen Kirchgasler, Belen Hernando Lloren, Mariam Sedighi, Xue Yin and Lei Zheng.