Thomas Popkewitz

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Professor Tom Popkewitz

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Professor Tom Popkewitz

Curriculum and Instruction (CI)

464B Teacher Education Building  binoculars icon
225 N Mills St
Madison, WI 53706-1707
Office: 608/263-7343

Curriculum Vitae

Personal Biography

My studies are concerned with the knowledge or systems of reason that govern educational policy and research related to pedagogy and teacher education. My research includes historical, ethnographic, and comparative studies of national educational reforms and the education sciences in Asia, Europe, Latin America, Southern Africa, and the US. Scholarship: I have written or edited approximately 30 books and over 200 articles in journals and as book chapters. Two of my books (Paradigms and Ideology in Educational Research and A Political Sociology of Educational Reform) have won awards for their contribution to educational studies. I have conducted national and comparative studies of teacher education and curriculum reforms in the US, Europe, Latin America, and Asia, particularly as they relate to questions of social inclusion (e.g., The Myth of Educational Reform, and Struggling for the Soul). I have also co-directed a ten-country European Union-funded research project on educational governance and social exclusion (1999-2002), and (co)directed comparative projects in the history and contemporary contexts of educational reforms. These studies appear in edited books (e.g., Educational Knowledge; Changing Patterns of Power; Educational Restructuring; Inventing the Modern Self and John Dewey: Modernities and the Traveling of Pragmatism in Education; and The Child, the Citizen, and the Promised Land: Comparative Visions in the Development of Schooling in the Long 19th Century). My most recent research relates to cultural and historical studies of education and educational research; and the politics of the globalization in education. One recent book, Cosmopolitanism and The Age of School Reform (2008) explores the systems of reason in teaching and learning as double gestures that historically generate images and narratives of Enlightenment cosmopolitanism and fears of the dangerous populations to that vision. In press is. (Re)visioning The History of Education: Transnational Perspectives On the Questions, Methods and Knowledge. I recently begun a new edited series with Daniel Trohler (Luxembourg University), entitled Cultural Studies in Knowledge, Curriculum, and Education. My current work is on the impracticality and politics of educational research that seeks ‘practical’ and useful knowledge in school reforms. Awards and Fellowships: I have honorary doctorates from Umeå University, Sweden; the University of Lisbon, Portugal; and Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium for my contributions to the studies of educational reform and educational sciences; University of Helsinki, Finland for my contribution to studies in education; and the conferring of an equivalent of a habilitation diploma in my election as a Senior International Academician in the Russian Academy of Education. Teachers College, Columbia University (New York City) awarded me its 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award. I have also received the American Education Research Association’s Division B (Curriculum Studies) Lifetime Achievement Award (2008) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education Distinguished Faculty Award (2008). In addition, I received two US Fulbright Fellowships to the Soviet Academy of Education Sciences (1981) to study dialectical logic and the problem of change in social theory; and to the University of Helsinki, Finland (2000) to study the systems of reason in teaching and teacher education; have been a distinguished visiting professor at multiple European universities, conducted numerous comparative research projects of educational reform in teaching and teacher education; and received fellowships from The Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (1988); a W.F. Wilson Fellowship; The Oppenheimer Foundation to South Africa (1993) to lecture on the study of the relation of social and cultural change to education in universities around the country; the Finnish Academy of Science fellowship at the Helsinki Collegium for Advance Study (Fall, 2004); and a Guest Researcher Professor at French Ministère de L’Éducation Nationale, De L’Ensigeignement Supérieur et De La Recherche, Institut National de Recherche Pédagogique (2010); and University Guest Professor at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. I have been given plenary lectures at major professional organizations in the comparative education, philosophy, history, sociology, and curriculum studies in education around the world. My research has been translated and published in Chinese, Danish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Korea, Portuguese, Norwegian, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. I serve on numerous international scientific journal advisory boards. The courses I teach are on school reform, paradigms of educational research and evaluation, and globalization and teaching.




  • Popkewitz, T.S., Diaz, J., & Kirchgasler, C.M. (2016). Curriculum Studies and Historicizing the Present: The Political and Impracticality of Practical Knowledge. Special Issue: Knowledge Cultures. 4(2), 11-18.
  • Popkewitz, T.S. (2014). The "Reason" of Schooling: Historicizing Curriculum Studies, Pedagogy, and Teacher Education. In Thomas S. Popkewitz (Eds.), New York: Routledge.
  • Popkewitz, T.S., Diaz, J., & Kirchgasler, C.M. (in press). Political Sociology and Educational Studies: Transnational Studies of the Styles of Reason Governing Teaching, Curriculum, and Teacher Education. New York: Routledge.

Awards and Honors

  • Honorary Doctorates
    Scope: International
    Description: I have 6 honorary doctorates (Honoris Causa); awarded by the Umeå University (Sweden); the University of Lisboa (Portugal); Katholieke Universiteit (Leuven, Belgium), University of Helsinki, Finland, and The University of Granada (Spain) for my contributions to the studies of educational reform and educational sciences; and the conferral of the habilitation diploma in my election as a Senior International Academician in the Russian Academy of Education. I was inducted as a Fellow in the American Education Research Association (2014) and received the American Educational Research Association, Division B (Curriculum Studies) Lifetime Achievement Award (2008) Teachers College, Columbia University (New York City) awarded me its 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award and the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education’s Distinguished Faculty Award (2008).
    Date(s): 2016
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