School of Education

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Dalene M. Swanson

Professor of Education and Director, Postgraduate Research, Faculty of Social Sciences



My commitments and activism are to glocal social, ecological and intersectional justice, and to anti-oppressive and democratic pedagogies and praxis. My research contributions are to critical global citizenship (education) and sustainability; critical mathematics education, and mathematics and science (education) in socio-political context; indigeneity, especially Ubuntu as a Southern African onto-epistemology; and critical and post-critical artsbased methodologies and practices, especially critical rhizomatic narrative, a research methodology, with its 'moments of articulation', which I developed. It is also the conceptual insights gained from transdisciplinary, intersectional and global/local relations between these foci that I am concerned with as a commitment toward justice-oriented praxis. In this respect, I also draw on the arts and indigeneity by way of decolonising dominant mathematical and scientistic discourses and oppressive social structures and practices.

My research and engagement commit strongly to efforts to decolonise 'conventional' research methodologies and praxes, as well as oppressive social structures, discourses and practices. My research and teaching address a range of intersectional violences such as that of race, class, ability, gender, poverty, disadvantage, and other social difference discourses and constructions, as well as contest dominant global imaginaries such as colonialist and modernist structures and governmentalities.

In this respect, amongst other foci, I think through the practices and effects of science and mathematics in socio-political, ecological and cultural context. As PI on the UKRI GCRF Water and Fire project, I am concerned with the relationship between socio-ecological stresses, such as climate change-induced disasters and the political consequences to those living in conditions of deep precarity. I am committed to decolonial, indigenous and ethical engagement with those residents living in informality and experiencing the effects of socio-ecological and political oppressions. As an overarching theme and commitment to my work, I think with decolonial and Southern theories and with/through the arts, indigeneity and alternative ethico-onto-epistemologies.

Having been influenced by reconceptualist curriculum and critical artsbased perspectives in Canada, I see curriculum as complicated conversation, as critical creative engagement and entryways, and as life journey. My life's work - through research, teaching, and engagement with others - strongly seeks to open up possibilities, through alternative ways of being and knowing, of more radically hopeful futures. I have had the privilege of being able to live and work in some of the most beautiful places of Southern Africa, North America, the Middle East, and Europe, and feel deeply honoured to have taught with, learned with, researched with, worked with, and engaged with some of the finest people imaginable in all of these contexts. My life's work is therefore dedicated to all those with whom I have been honoured to experience being-with in 'humble togetherness', and to the possibilities of and efforts toward a better world.

Major grant: Principal Investigator: UKRI GCRF ESRC: Water and Fire: (£1 000 000).

Research Awards: The International Institute of Qualitative Inquiry: Illinois Distinguished Qualitative Dissertation Award;

American Educational Research Association, Division B, Curriculum Studies: Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award

Canadian Association of Curriculum Studies: Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award;

The University of British Columbia, Faculty of Education: Prof Ted T. Aoki Prize for an Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in Curriculum Studies;

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Scholarship;

Teaching Awards: Postgraduate Supervisor of the Year Award, 2014/2015

Excellence in Teaching Award in the Faculty of Social Sciences, 2016/2017

Excellence in Teaching in the Faculty of Social Sciences, 2015, 2016

Expertise Summary

I have international research expertise in 4 interrelated areas that cohere around global social justice and critical approaches in education and society. These 4 broad interrelated areas of expertise are:

A) critical mathematics education (and STEM), curriculum studies, socio-political perspectives on mathematical and scientific knowledge; B) critical global citizenship education, sustainability, social and ecological justice; democracy and inclusion; international education (including Higher Education); critical development studies; C) indigenous knowledge and perspectives, (and Ubuntu onto-epistemology); and de/post-colonial perspectives in education, research and society; D) (post)critical arts-based, narrative and creative methodologies, including arts approaches to mathematics (and STEM) teaching.

** Having been influenced by reconceptualist traditions of curriculum studies, emanating from the Americas, Australia, and elsewhere, now increasingly accepted in the field of curriculum studies, I approach these four strands of research exploration and expertise as intricately interrelated. Together, they cohere around a notion of currere, the infinitive form of curriculum derived from the Latin, referring to a course that is run or a journey that is undertaken. In this vein, 'currere as method' in Education has come to be understood as reflexive 'complicated conversations', as an ongoing, often-circular project of mobilisation for justice-oriented, engaged pedagogical and socio-ecological action. This process of deliberative justice seeks to socially reconstruct the public sphere towards more hopeful possibilities of more-just, alternative futures. In my own methodological approaches to currere, each interwoven strand of theoretical, research and praxis exploration has at its heart this reflexive educational/narrative journeying articulating with the ethical imperative of 'glocal' social and ecological justice in education and society.

Recent Publications

School of Education

University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

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