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UW-Madison Education Professor Tom Popkewitz attends the ceremony in Beijing to launch a new research center named for him.

Research center in China named for UW professor

by Laurie Dennis

Beijing Normal University's faculty collaborations with the UW-Madison School of Education have recently resulted in a new research center named after UW-Madison’s own Professor Thomas Popkewitz. 

"The Research Center of Popkewitz Studies" will produce translations into Chinese of 14 books on education by Dr. Popkewitz.  It will also develop collaborative work with other Chinese and international universities, and hold international conferences.

Dr. Popkewitz, a professor in the top-ranked Department of Curriculum and Instruction and a faculty affiliate with Scandinavian Studies, told the Wisconsin China Initiative that he first visited China in the 1980s, but his China connections and interactions really began to take off about six years ago, when he accepted his first PhD student from China and also attended an education conference at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou.  He said these activities coincided with increased Chinese government funding of doctoral studies abroad, and a growing interest within China about his field of study, which focuses on the sociology of knowledge and systems of reason that govern educational policies.

“If this new center brings in a form of Western scholarship that had not previously been approached, then I would be happy with that,” he said. “I would be happy to provide ways for more intellectual engagement.”

Photo above: Professor Popkewitz discussed the "Sifting and Winnowing" plaque outside Bascom Hall with his visiting colleague from China, Prof. Fan Guorui, and a PhD student, Amy Liu.

The Beijing Normal University research center is not the first time that Dr. Popkewitz’s work has been internationally recognized.  This spring he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Granada, Spain. Dr. Popkewitz also has honorary doctorates from Umeå University, Sweden; the University of Lisbon, Portugal; Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium, for his contributions to the studies of educational reform and educational sciences; and from the University of Helsinki, Finland, for his contribution to studies in education; additionally, he has been elected as a Senior International Academician in the Russian Academy of Education, one of the academy’s highest honors.

Click here to read the School of Education website feature about the new Research Center of Popkewitz Studies.


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Click here to learn about President Obama’s “100,000 Strong Initiative” to increase the number and diversity of American students studying in China.



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