School of Education Events

Brown bag with Thomas Popkewitz: The Impracticality of Practical Research

Thomas Popkewitz, a professor with the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, will be delivering a presentation looking at the history of contemporary sciences of change that conserve. The discussion asks: “What if the orthodoxies of science as having practical knowledge have little historical evidence to sustain its promise?” “What if the ‘scientific evidence’ of the practical research is not merely about facts, evidence or ‘science,’ but about the ordering of conduct to change social life and people that produces differences and divisions?”
Date
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Time
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Location
8411 Social Sciences
Description

Thomas Popkewitz, a professor with the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, will be delivering a brown bag discussion from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10, in room 8411 of the Social Sciences building.

The presentation it titled, “The Impracticality of Practical Research: A History of Contemporary Sciences of Change that Conserve.”

thomas-popkewitzThere is an alluring, daunting, and haunting desire in contemporary Western European and American social sciences. That desire is for research to find the practical knowledge that enables change to bring about a good life in a just and equitable society. This desire haunts the 19th century emergence of the social sciences and becomes more pronounced in the post-war mobilizations of research in the expansion of the welfare states. This vision of practical knowledge is captured today in the international assessments of national school systems and professional education that identifies the pathways for governments to modernize school systems and provide for the well-being of its people. This faith embodies particular links between American policy and research in which reforms are verified by “scientific, empirical evidences” about “what works.”

Popkewitz’s brown bag focuses historically on present principles that order the “practical” sciences as more profound, complex and paradoxical than initially suggested in the formulation of the research. The discussion asks: “What if the orthodoxies of science as having practical knowledge have little historical evidence to sustain its promise?” “What if the ‘scientific evidence’ of the practical research is not merely about facts, evidence or ‘science,’ but about the ordering of conduct to change social life and people that produces differences and divisions?”

And if there is time, Popkewitz will talk about an alternative notion of science and social change.


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