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Emeritus Professor Sue 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. With a degree in human geography, during the 1970s I taught in secondary, intermediate and primary schools, mainly in multicultural urban  communities. As a young mother, I undertook  post-graduate studies in sociology and philosophy of education. Although addressing different topics, all of my research projects have shared a common theme: tracing the local and global networks and travels of the educational ideas encountered by New Zealand's teachers and students in schools and higher education. My projects have often combined analysis of archival policy documents with personal records such as letters and life-history interviews. My most recent research has addressed New Zealanders' involvements in and contributions to the global "New Education" (or Progressive Education) movement of the 1920s-40s. 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 of my  latest book (2014), click here: Henri Lefebvre and Education: Space, History, Theory.  London: Routledge). From 1992, when the university amalgamated with the Hamilton Teachers' College, I served as the first Assistant Dean (Graduate Studies) in the newly created faculty. I have served as a head of department, played a role on many committees.

Research Interests

Drawing on sociological and geographical concepts, my research  explores the local and global networks and travels of the educational ideas encountered by New Zealand's teachers and students in schools and higher education. My projects have often combined analysis of archival policy documents with personal records such as letters and life-history interviews. In was the first female female academic staff member in this university's Education department. This sparked my interest in feminist thinking. My life-history studies of women's experiences as teachers and students produced many local and international articles and book chapters. I started NZ's first courses on 'women and education', edited two textbooks for such courses and published two books for Teachers' College Press (Columbia New York). The neo-liberal turn in education policy from the 1980s shifted my focus towards the impact of such policies on the experiences and perspectives of teachers and students. Details of these and other research projects are on my cv.

On amalgamation of the university with Hamilton Teachers' College, I Undertook an oral history of New Zealand teachers' experiences and perspectives from 1915-1997 (with Helen May). My work as Assistant Dean Graduate Studies inspired my oral history of doctoral research in education in New Zealand from 1948-98.

The new millennium saw my interest move beyond the scope of living memory and towards archival work, as detailed below. My most recent focus was on New Zealanders' involvements in and contributions to the global "New Education" (or Progressive Education) movement of the 1920s-40s.

A full curriculum vitae is available as a pdf file on this web site. Click here for my citations (Google Scholar).  For details of specific themes in my recent and current research and associated publications, click the links below:

Recent Publications

  • Middleton, S. C. (2017). New Zealand Theosophists in New Education Networks, 1880s-1938. History of Education Review, 46(1), 42-57. doi:10.1108/HER-10-2015-0024

  • Middleton, S. (2017). Review Essay: Henri Lefebvre and pedagogies of revolution, emancipation and appropriation [Review of Time and the Rhythms of Emancipatory Education by M. Alhadeff-Jones and Education and the Production of Space by D. Ford]. Antipode Foundation. Retrieved from https://radicalantipode.files.wordpress.com/ Open Access version: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11136

  • Middleton, S. (2016). Henri Lefebvre on education: Critique and pedagogy. Policy Futures in Education, 1-17. doi:10.1177/1478210316676001 Open Access version: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11099

  • Middleton, S. (2014). Henri Lefebvre and education. Space, history, theory. Routledge.

Find more research publications by Sue Middleton

Keywords

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


Contact Details

Email: s.middleton@waikato.ac.nz