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


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Dr. Christopher Kirchgasler

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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

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 define who and what are seen and acted on as the “problems” of individual and social development. I work in the area of Curriculum 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. (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.

Awards and Honors

  • Other
    Organization: National Academy of Education
    Purpose: Scholarship/Research
    Scope: National
    Description: NAEd/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,

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