Christopher Kirchgasler

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

Dr. Christopher Kirchgasler

No profile photo available.

Dr. Christopher Kirchgasler

Assistant Professor
Curriculum and Instruction (CI)

456A Teacher Education Building  binoculars icon
225 N Mills St
Madison, WI 53706
Office: 608/890-0909
Google Scholar page
Curriculum Vitae

Personal Biography

My research examines the historical and comparative qualities of schooling, particularly as they relate to notions of inclusion, equity, and justice. My work directs attention to how contemporary school reforms are haunted by colonial residues that animate what are seen and acted on as the “problems” of individual and social development. I work in the area of Curriculum and Global Studies and teach courses in Curriculum and Instruction at the graduate and undergraduate levels, specializing in post-structural theories and methodologies in education. I am affiliated with the African Studies Program and the Holtz Center for Science & Technology Studies. Prior to joining the department, I was Assistant Professor of Curriculum Studies at the University of Kansas.


Ph D, Curriculum & Instruction, History (minor)
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Madison, WI

BA, French
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT

BA, English
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT

Grants and Sponsorships

  • 2019-2021 - Amount: $60,000.00, "After The Crisis: Migration, Education, And Work-Life In Interdisciplinary Light," Awarded By: Swedish Research Council, Sponsor Type: Federal, Christopher Kirchgasler, Supporting.


  • Kirchgasler, C. (2020). Haunted data: The colonial residues of transnational school reforms in Kenya. In F. Salajan & T. Jules (Eds.), The Educational Intelligent Economy: Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Internet of Things in Education. Bingley: Emerald.
    Abstract: The coming of Big Data is offered as a universal recipe that will reduce global inequalities and grow national economies. The chapter pursue how notions of progress have traveled into schooling through technology and generate differences and exclusions in past and present. Through an ungrounding method, the chapter examines how the data of school reforms are haunted by colonial residues that define what are seen as the problems that school reforms are to solve. The chapter explores how transnational school reforms during the colonial era were directed to adapting education to “the African,” which connected expertise in the U.S., U.K., and Africa through a shared set of standards, principles, and values about what constituted civilization and development. While the “African” has disappeared today in favor of the “all,” residues of educational values and judgments that made it up as a target of colonial schooling still haunt the present. Analysis of school reforms in Kenya’s colonial past and present, the chapter argues that today’s transnational school reforms continue to presume target communities are passive, pathological objects whose transformation depends upon acting rationally—in the past envisioned as individual assimilation through surveys and questionnaires and today through systems integration and managed through data mining and algorithms. The narrative of data as a technological sublime is a seductive one and offers a note of optimism to schooling; however, faith in it impairs historical reflection and ethical reflexivity towards schooling’s colonial residues.
  • Kirchgasler, C. (2018). True Grit? Making a Scientific Object and Pedagogical Tool. American Educational Research Journal. 55(4), 693–720.
    Online Publication/Abstract
    Abstract: The educability of personal qualities has garnered attention for its potential to raise student achievement. This investigation asks how one such quality—grit—has become a commonsensical way to think about differences among students. As a history of the present, grit is approached as a cultural thesis that links individualism to narratives of American exceptionalism and historical progress. This thesis is embodied in contemporary school reforms to “get gritty” in order to close achievement gaps. A danger of these reforms is how pedagogies of grit generate classificatory regimes that divide people by the display of particular attitudes and behaviors. As grit travels globally, it decontextualizes social and economic inequalities and explains them as owing to the intrinsic qualities of people.
  • Popkewitz, T.S., Diaz, J., & Kirchgasler, C. (2017). A Political Sociology of Educational Knowledge: Studies of Exclusion and Difference. New York: Routledge.


  • Kirchgasler, C., Presenter & Author (2019). Literacy for (Not) All: A Hauntology of a Transnational Imperative, Annual Conference, Curriculum & Pedagogy, McAllen, TX, USA.
  • Kirchgasler, C., Presenter & Author, & Desai, K., Presenter & Author (2019). “Girls” in Crisis: Colonial Residues of Transnational School Reforms in Kenya, Annual Meeting, Comparative and International Education Society, San Francisco, CA, USA.
  • Kirchgasler, C., Presenter & Author (2019). The end(s) of inclusion: The colonial residues of the global learning crisis., University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • Kirchgasler, C., Presenter & Author (2018). Archives without walls, interviews without the subject? The possibility of historicizing as method, Annual Meeting, Comparative and International Education Society, Mexico City, Mexico.

Awards and Honors

  • Other
    Organization: National Academy of Education
    Purpose: Scholarship/Research
    Scope: National
    Description: National Academy of Education Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Semi-Finalist
    Date(s): 2019
  • Other
    Organization: American Educational Research Association (AERA)
    Purpose: Scholarship/Research
    Scope: International
    Description: Division B: Dissertation Recognition Award
    Date(s): 2018


  • Comparative and International Education Society (CIES)
    Position Held: Chair, Post-foundational Approaches to Comparative and International Education, Scope of Organization: International, Member Since: 2015
  • American Educational Research Association (AERA)
    Scope of Organization: International, Member Since: 2012

The following is a representative sample of media contributions.

"Grit," KCUR, 2018.
Radio, State, Gina Kauffman,

© 2019 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System • Privacy Notice • Please contact the School of Education External Relations Office with questions, issues or comments about this site.