Tom Popkewitz


(608) 263-7343

464B Teacher Education Building

225 N Mills St

Madison, WI 53706-1707

Popkewitz, Thomas

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My studies are concerned with the political and cultural politics of education knowledge and its comparative reason. These studies view schooling and research as practices creating kinds of people (e.g., the citizen, the learner, the child left behind) that distribute differences (the achievement gap) to exclude and abject. Recent studies focus on the impracticality of practical research for enacting its social commitments; examining historically current curriculum, teacher education, and international assessments as generating phantasmagrams that affectively differentiate potentialities about societies and people. My current research centers on the political sociology of scientific knowledge in international student performance assessments; the post-World War II mobilizations of social and education sciences; and teacher education. The research includes historical, ethnographic, and comparative studies in Asia, Europe, Latin America, Southern Africa, and the United States.

I have written or edited approximately 40 books and over 300 journal articles and book chapters, with translations into17 languages. I have been awarded six honorary doctorates from European universities; received American Educational Research Association fellowships; and been named a Laureate of Kappa Delta Pi, among other honors. 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. My research includes national and comparative studies of teacher education and curriculum reforms in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and Asia.

Courses Taught: Reform and Change in Curriculum and Instruction (C&I 716), Paradigms of Educational Research and Evaluation (C&I 714), Methods & Post-Modernism, Post-Foundationalism, Post-Colonialism and the New Materialism (C&I 916), and Internationalizing of Educational Knowledge (C&I 366 & 727).

Select Publications

  • Popkewitz, T., & Huang, J. (2023). . Rethinking Critical Theory & The Study of Education: Contributions of the “Posts/New Materialism”. R. Tierney, F. Rizvi, K. Ercikan and G. Smith (Ed.), Elsevier International Encyclopedia of Education Fourth Volume
  • Zhao, W., Popkewitz, T., & Autio, T. (2022). Applying a Historical Lens to Contest Unilateral Logics. Epistemic Colonialism and the Transfer of Curriculum Knowledge across Borders
  • Pereyra, M., & Popkewitz, T. (2021). Nuevas perspectivas, nuevos enfoques, nuevos contenidos. Historia De La Educación, Revista interuniversitaria. Monográfico, 40 (pp. 35-60). Salamanca: University of Salamanca Press DOI:
  • Popkewitz, T., Pettersson, D., & Hsiao, K. (2021). Quantification, visualization, and making kinds of people. The international emergence of educational sciences in the post-World War Two years Routledge.
  • Popkewitz, T. S. (2020). The impracticality of practical research: A history of sciences of change that conserve. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.
  • Fan, G., & Popkewitz, T. (2020). Values, Governance, Globalization, and Methodology. Handbook of education policy studies, 1&2 Singapore: SpringerOpen (English) and Shanghia: Educational Publishing House (also in Chinese).
  • Fan, G., & Popkewitz, T. S. (2020). Handbook on Policy Studies., 1-2 Springer (English), Shanghia: Shanghai Educational Publishing House (Chinese).
  • Popkewitz, T. S. (2019). How Theory Acts as the Retrieval Apparatus in Methods. Historical Thoughts on Romanticized Intellectual Practices. T. Fitzgerald (Ed.), Handbook of historical studies in education: Debates, tensions and directions Springer.
  • Lindblad, S., Pettersson, D., & Popkewitz, T. S. (2018). Education by the numbers and the making of society. The expertise of international assessments. New York: Routledge.
  • Lindblad, S., Pettersson, D., & Popkewitz, T. (2018). The expertise of international assessments. Education by the Numbers and the Making of Society New York: Routledge.

Select Presentations

  • Popkewitz, T. S. (2019). Keynote Speaker: Modern Schooling, The Knowledge of Textbooks and the Politics of Modernity. Keynote/Plenary Address presented at the 2nd Conference of Curriculum, textbook and teaching, Beijing Normal University, China.
  • Popkewitz, T. S. (2019). Keynote Speaker: Comparative Reasoning of International Education Assessments: The Double Gestures of Hope and Fears in Science. Keynote/Plenary Address presented at the International Conference on Educational Research, The University of Addis Abba, Ethiopia.
  • Popkewitz, T. S. (2018, October). Keynote Speaker: The Making of Inequality in Educational for Equality: Historical Notes on Contemporary American and European Sciences. Keynote/Plenary Address presented at the The 15th Annual Conference of the National Committee of Sociology of Education.
  • Popkewitz, T. S. (2018, October - 2018, October). Keynote Speaker: Numbers as desires and the impracticality of international student assessments: Governing by numbers at international level. Keynote/Plenary Address presented at the New relationships between the State and Professions in Education.
  • Popkewitz, T. S. (2018, September - 2018, September). Keynote Speaker: The Paradox of Research: The Good Intentions of Inclusion that Excludes and Abjects. presented at the The European Educational Research Association Annual Conference, Bolzano, Italy.
  • Popkewitz, T. S. (2017, May - 2017, May). Keynote Speaker: The Unity of Knowledge as a Philosophy Ideal in the Practices of Schooling: Notes from Curriculum & Science Studies about Change that Conserves. presented at the 2nd International Symposium on Philosophy, Education, Art and History of Science, Turkey.
  • Popkewitz, T. S. (2016, September - 2016, September). Keynote Speaker: The Promise of International Assessments and the Lorelei’s Whispers: Notes from Curriculum & Science Studies. Lecture presented at the Research and Policymaking in Education Symposium, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Popkewitz, T. S. (2016, March). Keynote Speaker: National Graduate School in Educational Research, Track 3 in cooperation with the research group CLEG. presented at the The Department of Teacher Education and School Research, and the Department of Education, Oslo, Norway.
  • Popkewitz, T. S. (2016, February). Keynote Speaker: The Historical Possibility of Practical Knowledge as the Object of Change: Notes on the Emergence of a System of Reasoning. presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education: History and Education SIG: Workshop, Melbourne, Australia.
  • Popkewitz, T. S. (2015, June). Keynote Speaker: The Problem of Educational Change in Pedagogical Research. presented at the Annual Conference of Pedagogy, 19th National Pedagogical Institute, Shanghai, China.

Select Awards and Honors

  • Elected as Laureate, Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education, Chapter of Laureates, 2016
  • Elected Senior International Academician, Russian Academy of Education, 2016
  • Honorary Doctorates for my contributions to the studies of educational reform and educational sciences, Umeå University (Sweden); the University of Lisboa (Portugal); Katholieke Universiteit (Leuven, Belgium), University of Helsinki, Finland, and The University of Granada (Spain), 2016
  • Distinguished Visiting Professorship, Nanjing Normal University and East China Normal University, (2013, 2016)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Division B, Curriculum Studies, American Educational Research Association (AERA), 2008
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Teachers College, Columbia University, 2005
  • The Finnish Academy of Science Fellowship, Helsinki Collegium for Advance Study, 2004
  • Fulbright Fellowship, The University of Helsinki, Finland (2000) and the Soviet Academy of Education Sciences, (1999, 2000)
  • The W. F. Wilson Fellowship, The Oppenheimer Foundation in South Africa, 1993
  • Fellowship, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences (SCAS) (Uppsala), 1988