Thomas Popkewitz

Medical imaging Carillon Tower Glass blowing Laptop and lecture A smiling student Sunrise over the Education Building Chairs on the Memorial Union Terrace Bascom hall staircase Graduating students in silhouette Crowd of people on Bascom Hill A student tutoring Student with diploma Dance Department performance Night view of Bascom in the winter Memorial Union Terrace in autumn Memorial Union Terrace chairs Dance department performance Bucky Badger in front of a parade float Bascom Hall in the summertime Lincoln statue Students walking in the snow University of Wisconsin - Madison Crest Lincoln statue in the snow Forward Logo Student at graduation Bicycle in the snow Rathskellar Fireplace Sailboat with Capitol Building in the background A sailboat at the Memorial Union Bascom Hill in Autumn Bucky Badger studying with a student. Students among blooming trees at UW-Madison Bucky reading a book University flag on Bascom Hill Video camera view screen Student on a frozen lake Lincoln Statue on Bascom Hill Bascom Hill in winter Students collaborating Memorial Union Terrace chairs in the snow Kohl Center logo Graduates with diplomas A hands-on project Stacked, illuminated figures View from the top of Van Hise


Main Office

Curriculum & Instruction
School of Education
210 Teacher Education Building
225 North Mills Street
MadisonWI  53706

Tel: 608/263.4600
Fax: 608/263.9992

or by contact form

Professor Tom Popkewitz

No profile photo available.

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. What historians of education can learn from the history of education: An intercontinental perspective and the (re)visioning educational studies. Manuscript in preparation.
    Abstract: An acquisition editor for a major publisher expressed interest in the book so now waiting to see what he says. This book is related to the AERA symposium that I organized for Division F, History of Education. The aim of this book is to bring American history of education into a conversation with a range of historical traditions that have developed within the larger international domains. To simplify a little, the problem is that American educational historians, with some exceptions, produce studies that are long on archival data that are treated positivistically in building the narratives of history and which ignore the theoretical/philosophical debates about what constitutes the field of historical studies. The particular national tradition of historicism is so ingrained that there occurs a censoring of colleagues from other and international contexts whose historical studies are taken as “merely” ideological and not within the purview of historical studies. This book is designed to challenge this myopia through bringing together a small group of well-regarded historians in education from Asia, Europe, and South America. Their work brings varying intellectual approaches that are theoretically informed through interdisciplinary scholarship while giving attention to archival materials. The intent is to engage pragmatically (what people are actually doing as historical studies), historically (how counter traditions that exist within the broad disciplinary field) , and theoretically (how all historical research embodies theoretical questions is the formation of problems and analysis of data) in a conversation about the history of education, and contribute to ways in which historical methods of interpretation are formed and contribute to an understanding of schooling.

Awards and Honors

  • University Guest Professor
    Organization: Gothenburg University
    Date(s): 2011
  • French Ministere de L'Education Nationale, De L'Ensigeignement Superieur et De La Recherche
    Organization: Institut National de Recherche Pedagogique
    Date(s): 2010
© 2016 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System • Please contact the School of Education External Relations Office with questions, issues or comments about this site.