Research News

Education center in China named after UW-Madison’s Popkewitz

June 01, 2015

Beijing Normal University's School of Education and Department of Curriculum Studies recently named its new center for education studies after UW-Madison’s Thomas Popkewitz.

Called the Research Center of Popkewitz Studies (RCPS), this initiative is designed to bring together a collaborative educational research network based at Beijing Normal University in China that will further expand on the groundbreaking work of Popkewitz over the past four decades.

Popkewitz has been a faculty member with the School of Education’s top-ranked Department of Curriculum and Instruction since 1970, and also is an affiliate with UW-Madison’s Department of Scandinavian Studies. His work centers on the knowledge or systems of reason that govern educational policy and research related to pedagogy and teacher education.

Popkewitz honored during ceremony
Thomas Popkewitz is honored in April during the launch of an
education research center at Beijing Normal University in China
that bears his name: Research Center of Popkewitz Studies.
Popkewitz is often recognized for the uniqueness of his work, which combines a theoretical sophistication tying studies of power and knowledge with a historical elaboration and empirical research of the social and political dimensions that influence educational practices. His books and articles have been translated and published in 15 different languages and he has been awarded six honorary degrees, including an honorary doctorate earlier this year from the University of Granada in Spain.

The Research Center of Popkewitz Studies will further examine Popkewitz’s educational theories and philosophies. It will utilize research from across China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, and western nations in an effort to forge further research partnerships with those in Europe and the United States.

In addition, the center will not only look to apply some of Popkewitz’s work but will focus efforts on making sociological sense of the various cultural backgrounds in which educational researchers are conducting their work.

At the opening of the center in April, officials at Beijing Normal University also introduced the first of three books by Popkewitz that will be translated into Chinese and published by Beijing Normal University Press – “Struggling for the Soul: The Politics of Schooling and the Construction of the Teacher,” “Cosmopolitanism and the Age of School Reform: Science, Education, and Making Society by Making the Child,” and “Paradigm and Ideology in Educational Research: Social Functions of the Intellectual.”  Another 11 books will be translated and published through collaboration with East China Normal University, Shanghai.

“The establishment of the Center is a great honor,” says Popkewitz. “But I am trained to think historically and not about ‘the author.’  The historical significance at the inaugural ceremony was expressed by the former Dean of East China Normal University, Shanghai.  He said that the Center’s collaboration and publishing of translations were important to Chinese research as it broadens its intellectual traditions from its prior instrumental purposes.  The comments, without overly generalizing them, provide a glimpse into nuances of the changing conditions of Chinese social research in China that are often lost in the U.S. newspapers.”