STS colleague, Kirchgasler examines the historical and comparative qualities of schooling

Chris Kirchgasler applied to become a member of the Holtz Center during his first year with the UW School of Education, because his scholarship draws significantly on STS work. This assistant professor works in the area of Curriculum Studies and teaches courses in Curriculum and Instruction at the graduate and undergraduate levels, specializing in post-structural theories and methodologies in education. In addition to his new affiliation with the Holtz Center, he is also affiliated with the African Studies Program.

Kirchgasler’s research examines the historical and comparative qualities of schooling, particularly as they relate to notions of inclusion, equity, and justice. His work directs attention to how contemporary school reforms are haunted by colonial residues that define who and what are seen and acted on as the “problems” of individual and social development.

His recent book project, Gritty: Making the Child and the Global Learning Crisis, historicizes the arrival of algorithmic governance in education as a new modality of power (e.g., pattern-based, probabilistic risk mitigation) that produces new conceptualizations of the body (i.e., as a data storehouse) and new subjectivities (e.g., the self-optimizing child). Rather than take the coming of Big Data as evolutionary, Kirchgasler examines how biodigital data embody historical principles, values, and judgments of who and what we should be that remain produce differences and exclusions and yet too often remain black boxed.

Prior to joining the UW School of Education last fall, he was an assistant professor of Curriculum Studies at the University of Kansas.

Stay tuned for details on Professor Kirchgasler’s presentation later this academic year, on an exciting science and technology studies topic. He will be presenting at the Holtz Center’s lunch time seminar series on April 8 at 12:30 pm.

Chris Kirchgasler, Curriculum and Instruction (Photo by Sarah Maughan UW-Madison)