Emeritus Professor Sue C. Middleton

Sue Middleton

Emeritus Professor, Wilf Malcolm Institute for Educational Research

Qualifications: PhD, University of Waikato, 1985; MA (Distinction), VUW 1979; Dip Teaching (Christchurch) 1969; BA (VUW), 1968

About Sue

I retired on January 31 2013 after 32 years' employment at this university. Although no longer teaching, I continue to research, write and present at conferences. Research post-retirement has addressed New Zealanders' involvements in and contributions to the global "New Education" (or Progressive Education) movement of the 1920s-40s. A new book on this theme was published in September 2019: Sue Middleton and Helen May (eds), (2019), For women and children: A tribute to Geraldine McDonald. Wellington: NZCER Press.

Since retirement, I have also published a book and series of articles  on French scholar Henri Lefebvre (1901-91) as educational thinker and applied his analytical concepts in a series of 'spatial histories' of educational ideas. For details, click here: Henri Lefebvre and Education: Space, History, Theory.  London: Routledge, 2014).I have also continued my career-long interest in women, sexuality and gender. My cv is available here.

Research Interests

Since joining the university in 1980, I have studied the local and global networks and travels of the educational ideas encountered by New Zealand's teachers and students in schools and higher education, usually combining analysis of archival policy documents with personal records such as letters and life-history interviews.

Curriculum vitae

Citations (Google Scholar).

Recent Publications

  • Middleton, S. (2021). Gender wars and sexuality education in 2021: History and politics. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 56, 227-243. doi:10.1007/s40841-021-00220-5

  • Middleton, S. (2019). Geraldine In her own words. In For women and children: A tribute to Geraldine McDonald (pp. 19-46). Wellington, New Zealand: NZCER Press. Open Access version:

  • Middleton, S., & May, H. (2019). Introduction. In S. Middleton, & H. May (Eds.), For Women and Children: A Tribute to Geraldine McDonald (pp. 1-18). Wellington, New Zealand: NZCER Press.

  • Middleton, S., & May, H. (Eds.) (2019). For women and children: A tribute to Geraldine MacDonald. Wellington, New Zealand: NZCER Press.

Find more research publications by Sue Middleton


Henri Lefebvre as educational thinker;
New/ Progressive Education Movement 1920s-50s;
Spatial Histories of Educational Ideas;
Life-History methods;

Contact Details

Email: [email protected]