This course is discontinued

UV9359 – Curriculum, Governance and Change: Between Pasts and Futures

Course content

The seminar guides doctoral candidates in their attempt to read, think, and critically reflect on the ways education is changing in-between local and global reform contexts, and in-between past and future histories. It especially focuses on the historical limits of research on practical and practical knowledge as a strategy of educational change. It also encourage the candidates to examine and discuss the role constitutions and legal documents play in the construction of the national citizens and how a transnational curriculum history can be conceived as an academic field that is emancipated from both national and global research agendas.

Organiser: NATED (National graduate School in Educational Research) track 3, in cooperation with the research group CLEG, the Department of Teacher Education and School Research, and the Department of Education at the University of Oslo.

Location: University of Oslo, Helga Eng Building, Faculty of Education. Room 231 and 232

Dates: March 16th – 17th, 2016

Responsible: Kirsten Sivesind, Jorunn Møller, University of Oslo

Guest professors: Professor Tom Popkewitz, University of Wisconsin and Professor Daniel Tröhler, University of Luxembourg

Learning outcome

Day 1 The study of the present and the planning for the future: The impracticality of “useful” and “practical knowledge” by Professor Tom Popkewitz, University of Wisconsin

During the Cold War, Irving Louis Horowitz, a prominent American sociologist, wrote about the dual projects of social science. One was to understand critically and historically the conditions that made the present possible.  The other was a political project to plan for the future.  The former worked and has been extremely influential.  The latter fell apart after its 70th birthday.  Horowitz’s distinction between the study of the present and the planning for the future, however, is not merely a characteristic of the Cold War.  The dream of the future is a mainstay of contemporary educational sciences concerned with school reform.  Filled with the search for “useful” and “practical” knowledge and rigorous methodologies to identify “what works,” the sciences embody a redemptive theme about pathways to actualize the desired future.

Whereas the promise of finding the practical knowledge for the future is daunting and enticing – as Sirens’ singing to beckon the mariners— the lectures explore the historical limits of research on practical and practical knowledge as a strategy of educational change.   The focus on knowledge gives attention to what political philosophy and feminist theory, among others, have noted: the political of modernity is concerned not only with questions of sovereign power but also with productive power; that is, the effects of power to order conduct.   Not-with-standing the current topoi about The Knowledge Society, power in liberal societies is exercised less through brute force and more through the systems of reason that order reflection and action.

In the first lecture Tom Popkewitz explores the historical question: how it is possible to think about teacher and student practices as objects of change?   He explores how 19th century social and education sciences emerge as social projects that focus on the practices of everyday life to change the child, family and community.   The changing of people, however, has paradoxes. The efforts to change people entail double gestures.  The hope of producing the cosmopolitan child in education functions simultaneously to exclude and abject.

In the second lecture Tom Popkewitz looks at the paradox of current research about “practice” and “useful” knowledge in research on teacher practices and international assessments of student performance (OECD and McKinsey & Company models of school change).   While the research programs operate at micro and macro levels of school systems, he explores their overlapping principles about practical knowledge and teacher practices as impractical to the social commitments of schooling.  Impractical as (a) the research conserves the very contemporaneous frameworks to be changed, and (b) its inscribes a hierarchy of values that divide and produce inequity rather than equity.

Day 2 Curriculum History in Europe – a Historiographic Added Value in the History of Education by Professor Daniel Tröhler, University of Luxembourg

Although it is generally acknowledged that the erection of the mass school systems has to be seen in close relation to the emerging nation-states of the (very late) eighteenth century and mainly the nineteenth century, rather few published studies discuss the interrelation between the actual foundation of the (nation-) states and the erection of the modern school systems. This paper examines the role that constitutions play in the construction of the national citizens as expression of a particular cultural understanding of a political entity, and then discusses European examples indicating how European countries’ particular constitutional construction of the citizens almost immediately triggered the need to create new school laws designed to organize the actual implementation of the constitutionally created citizens. The focus is on the specific curricular need to ‘make’ loyal citizens by creating the symbiosis between the nation and the constitutional state, and by emphasizing the cultural differences between the individual nation states and their overall curriculum. The paper ends in formulating research desiderata that envision transnational curriculum history as an academic field that is emancipated from both national and global research agendas.


Open lectures for all signed up for the seminars. Closed workshops for course participants. PhD-candidates enrolled in NATED will be given priority, but it is also possible for other PhD-candidates to apply for the course.

Candidates admitted to a PhD-program at the Faculty of Educational Sciences (UV): Apply by Studentweb.

Other applicants: apply through registration form

Registration deadline: February 15, 2016



Wednesday March 16
Helga Eng Building, room 231

09.15 – 09.30: Welcome by Kirsten Sivesind

09.30 – 11.30: Open lecture by Professor Tom Popkewitz, University of Wisconsin-Madison

11.30 – 12.30: Lunch

12.30 – 14.45: Lecture by Professor Tom Popkewitz, University of Wisconsin-Madison

15.00 – 17.00: Plenary discussion and paper presentations by the candidates

1900: Dinner downtown


Thursday March 17
Helga Eng Building, room 232

09.15 – 09.20: Welcome by Kirsten Sivesind

09.20 – 11.30: Lecture by Professor Daniel Tröhler, University of Luxembourg

11.30 – 12.30: Lunch

12.30 – 13.50 Plenary discussion introduced by Associate Professor Trude Evenshaug, University College of Buskerud


14.00 – 15.30: PhD presentations and feedback in groups (including break)

15.30 – 16.00: Plenary discussion/ Summing up


Recommended Reading:           

Popkewitz, T. (2009). Numbers in grids of intelligibility: Making sense of how educational truth is told. Manuscript.

Popkewitz, T. (2013). The empirical and political «fact» of theory in the social and education sciences. Making a difference in theory: the theory question in education and the education question in theory, 13-29.

Popkewitz, T., Simons, M., Olssen, M., & Peters, M. (2009). Inclusion and exclusion as double gestures in policy and education sciences. Re-reading education policies: A handbook studying the policy agenda of the 21st century, 531-548.

Popkewitz, T. S. (2011). The Past as the Future of the Social and Education Sciences Education systems in historical, cultural, and sociological perspectives (pp. 163-180): Springer.

Popkewitz, T. S. (2013). The impracticality of practical knowledge and lived experience in educational research. Nordic Studies in Education, 33(02), 124-139.

Popkewitz, T. S., & Kirchgasler, C. (2014). Fabricating the teacher’s soul in teacher education. Foucault and a Politics of Confession in Education, 35.

Tröhler, D. (2009). Between ideology and institution: the curriculum of upper-secondary education. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 41, 393-408

Tröhler, D. (2013). Truffle Pigs, Research Questions, and Histories of Education. In: T. S. Popkewitz (Ed.), Rethinking the History of Education. Transnational perspectives on its questions, methods, and knowledge (pp. 75-92). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Tröhler, D. (2014). The construction of society and conceptions of education. Comparative Visions in Germany, France, and the United States Around 1900. In T. S. Popkewitz (Ed.), The Reason of Schooling: Historicizing Curriculum Studies, Pedagogy, and Teacher Education (pp. 21-39). New York: Routledge

Tröhler, D. (2015). People, Citizens, Nations. Organizing Modern Schooling in Western Europe in the 19th Century: The Cases of Luxembourg and Zurich. In: D. Tröhler; & T. Lenz (Eds.), Trajectories in the Development of Modern School Systems: Between the National and the Global (pp. 27-45). New York, NY: Routledge

Tröhler, D. (under review): Curriculum History or the Educational Construction of Europe in the Long Nineteenth Century. Submitted to the European Educational Research Journal EERJ.


Participation two days but no submitted/accepted paper: 1 credit. Participation two days, submitted paper: 3 credits. 80% attendance is required.

Paper for seminar: 5000-6000 words. Send paper for oral presentation, no later than March 4th, 2016 to e-mail address: Please send a paper for final evaluation no later than May 10th.


Evaluation form

Facts about this course






Spring 2016


Participation two days but no submitted/accepted paper: 1 credit. Participation two days, submitted paper: 3 credits. 80% attendance is required.

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