Bakhtin and Education

This doctoral seminar will introduce students to the writings of key members of the “Bakhtin Circle,” which included Mikhail Bakhtin, Valentin Voloshinov, and Pavel Medvedev. The core objective of this course is for students to read the original works of Bakhtin, Voloshinov, and Medvedev alongside contemporary educational researchers and theorists who apply Bakhtinian ideas. One student will be assigned the role of discussion leader each week. The discussion leader will select a contemporary author for the class to read and facilitate a class discussion/activity on their chosen article and its use of Bakhtinian concepts. Students will also write a final paper that applies Bakhtinian theory to an issue relevant to their research interest or dissertation topic.


Educational Ethnography

This seminar will show students how to use ethnographic methods for 
education research.  The course begins from the premise that schools serve as key sites for students of all ages to learn culture.  We will read about education in various settings and discuss anthropological 
explanations of inequities experienced by minority culture communities or disadvantaged groups.  Students will also carry out a 
mini-ethnographic study based on their area of research interest.  The focus of the course will be on ethnography as a research method.  It is especially designed for students to be able to conduct ethnographic studies or make use of ethnographic techniques in future research projects.


Video Ethnography of Education

This seminar will show students how to use video ethnography in education research.  The course is rooted in what is popularly known as the Preschool in Three Cultures method (also known as video-cued multivocal ethnography).  We will learn about and watch films using video-based ethnographic research methods.  Students will also carry out mini-video ethnographies in a local classroom.


Childhood Policy and Critical Advocacy

This seminar focuses on policy and “critical” advocacy as it relates to children, families and schooling in Pennsylvania, the U.S., and globally. We will focus on global and national discourses and policies, including those affecting child care, family definitions and support, and education policy trends in various neoliberal and neoconservative contexts. Seminar participants will pursue a specific issue of relevance to them throughout the seminar, and will monitor both the popular media (including online sources) and the professional literature on this topic. Possible topics include disability policies, welfare reform, Head Start policies, environmental racism, NCLB and other education policies, homeless families and street youth, immigration and language policies, global HIV/AIDS and education, violence and children, health care, language policy, children of incarcerated parents, and cross-national comparisons of child care and early education policies.


Introduction to Early Childhood Education

As one of the introductory courses to early childhood education for undergraduate students, this class presents a foundational base of the early childhood education field, including the study of children/childhood, current practices, various roles of practitioners, environments for learning, and approaches to teaching.

This course provides an historical overview of influential thinkers and the roots of early childhood education, multidisciplinary perspectives of development of the young child (for example, perspectives on children/childhood from anthropology, behaviorism, developmental psychology, neuroscience, postmodernism and post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, etc.), and resources for planning curriculum and instruction.