Christopher Kirchgasler

Assistant Professor

(608) 890-0909

464C Teacher Education Building

225 N Mills St

Madison, WI 53706

Kirchgasler, Christopher

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Chris Kirchgasler is Assistant Professor of Curriculum & Global Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and is affiliated with the African Studies Program and the Holtz Center for Science & Technology Studies.

Dr. Kirchgasler’s research draws upon postcolonial and postfoundational approaches to analyze the values and norms in curriculum and school reforms in order to understand how they generate differences and exclusions. These studies take two dimensions. One is transnational and includes studies of migrant inclusion, global assessments, teacher observation systems, and low-fee, for-profit schooling, particularly in Africa, Europe, and North America. The second concerns historicizing educational knowledge, including psychological concepts such as curiosity and grit, and curricular design principles such as efficiency and community voice.

He has published this work in the American Educational Research Journal, Comparative Education Review, and Discourse: Cultural Studies in the Politics of Education. He has also co-edited a volume on the sociology of educational knowledge (A Political Sociology of Educational Knowledge: Studies of Exclusion and Difference, Routledge, 2017). He is currently at work on a monograph historicizing transnational school reforms in Kenya, tentatively titled, Building Bridges: Colonial Residues of Transnational School Reforms.

Currently, he teaches courses on postfoundational, postcolonial, and other critical approaches to educational issues at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Prior to joining the department, he was Assistant Professor of Curriculum Studies at the University of Kansas. He has previously taught in an East Boston middle school and at a secondary school in Tougué, Guinea as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

He is excited to work with graduate students who share an interest in postfoundational and postcolonial approaches to educational studies and transnational school reforms.


  • PhD Curriculum & Instruction, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2017
  • BA French, University of Utah, 2007
  • BA English, University of Utah, 2002

Select Media Contributions

  • FreshEd, Colonial Residues of Domesticity in Education Development. (November, 2020). Media Link
  • Central Standard, Grit. (April, 2018). Media Link
  • The New York Times Magazine, Can a Tech Start-Up Successfully Educate Children... ?. (June, 2017). Media Link

Select Publications

  • Kirchgasler, C. (2020). The end(s) of inclusion: Ungrounding globalization and 'the migrant' in dialogue with hospitality. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 1–17. London: Taylor & Francis Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Kirchgasler, C., & Desai, K. (2020). “Girl” in crisis: Colonial residues of domesticity in transnational school reforms. Comparative Education Review, 64(3), 384-403. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Kirchgasler, C. (2019). 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 Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Kirchgasler, C. (2018). True Grit? Making a scientific object and pedagogical tool. American Educational Research Journal, 55(4), 693–720. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Popkewitz, T. S., Diaz, J., & Kirchgasler, C. (2017). A Political Sociology of Educational Knowledge: Studies of Exclusion and Difference. In T. Popkewitz, J. Diaz, and C. Kirchgasler (Ed.), (pp. 268). New York: Routledge Online Publication/Abstract.

Select Presentations

  • Kirchgasler, C., & Desai, K. (2020, April). Domestic products: Historicizing the desire for the educated girl (accepted, conference cancelled). Paper presented at the AERA Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
  • Kirchgasler, C., & Sitomaniemi-San, J. (2020, March). The genius of 'curiosity': Towards a genealogy of a scientific-pedagogic object of educational reform (accepted, conference cancelled). Paper presented at the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
  • Kirchgasler, C. (2019, October). Literacy for (Not) All: A Hauntology of a Transnational Imperative. Paper presented at the Curriculum & Pedagogy Annual Conference, McAllen, TX, USA.
  • Kirchgasler, C. (2019, March). The end(s) of inclusion: The colonial residues of the global learning crisis. presented at the After the crisis. Migration, education and employment in an interdisciplinary light, Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • Kirchgasler, C., & Desai, K. (2019, March). Making the Neo-Colonizer: Strategies and Tactics of Subjectification for Development. Panel Organized presented at the Comparative & International Education Society Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
  • Kirchgasler, C., & Desai, K. (2019, March). “Girls” in Crisis: Colonial Residues of Transnational School Reforms in Kenya. Paper presented at the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Select Awards and Honors

  • Research Award, UW–Madison Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, (2022, 2023)
  • Division B (Curriculum Studies) Dissertation Recognition Award, American Educational Research Association (AERA), 2018