Critical Pedagogy


The Ohio State University, PhD
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, ABEd, MAT


Dr. Ross is interested in the influence of social and institutional contexts on teachers’ practice as well as the role of curriculum and teaching in building a democratic society in the face of antidemocratic impulses of greed, individualism, and intolerance.

In recent years he has examined the influence of the educational standards and high-stakes testing movements on curriculum and teaching. His most recent research investigates the surveillance-based and spectacular conditions of postmodern schools and society in an effort to develop both a radical critique of the “disciplinary gaze” and a means by which teachers, students, and other stakeholders might resist its various conformative, anti-democratic, anti-collective, and oppressive potentialities.

Dr. Ross is co-founder and co-director, with Sandra Mathison and Stephen Petrina, of the Institute for Critical Education Studies and co-edits the Institute’s flagship, open access journals Critical Education and Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor.

He also co-edits Cultural Logic , which has been on-line since 1997, and is an open access, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal publishing essays, interviews, poetry, and reviews by writers working within the Marxist tradition.

Dr. Ross has written extensively for newspapers and magazines on education and social issues and has contributed to numerous radio and television outlets. His education activism includes playing a key role in the creation of The Rouge Forum, a group of educators, parents, and students seeking a democratic society through dialogue and direct action. The Rouge Forum brings together education activists in a variety of projects and regularly sponsors regional and national conferences.

A former secondary social studies (Grades 8 to 12) and day care teacher in North Carolina and Georgia, Dr. Ross was Distinguished University Scholar and Chair of the Department of Teaching at the University of Louisville prior to his arrival at UBC in 2004. He has also taught at the State University of New York at Albany and Binghamton University, SUNY.

Find Dr. Ross on the interwebs:

Institute for Critical Education Studies
Where the Blog Has No Name
Workplace Blog

Follow me on Academia.edu

Read Full Profile

Invited Presentations

Academic Conferences & Presentations (Recent)

Social studies and citizenship education in a neoliberal world. Keynote address at II Jornadas de Investigación en Estudios Sociales y Educación Cívica, Universidad Nacional of Costa Rica, June 10, 2022.

Images and interventions as pedagogical imaginaries: Creative disruption of classroom life. INEDA | Repensar la formación docente a través de la innovación educativa para una era post-pandemia [Rethinking teacher training through educational innovation for a post-pandemic era]. University of Seville, Spain, March 2, 2022.

Democracy, populism and critical citizenship education in a neoliberal world. V Seminar on Teaching and Learning: Contributions of Interdisciplinary Education for Times of Change. University of Santiago, Chile. January 5, 2022.

Society, democracy, and economics: Challenges for social studies and citizenship education in a neoliberal world. Keynote speaker Gesellschaft für Sozioökonomische Bildung und Wissenschaft / Association for Socio-Economic Education and Research, University of Education Vienna, Austria, February 19-21, 2020.

Humanizing critical pedagogy. Plenary speaker at VIII International Conference on Critical Education, University of East London, London, UK, July 26, 2018.

What teachers? What citizenship? What future? The challenges of teaching social sciences, geography, and history. Keynote address at XV Jornades Internacionals de Recerca en Didàctica de les Ciències Socials (XV International Conference on the Research of Teaching Social Sciences), Autonomous University of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. February 8, 2018.

Recent Media/News Appearances (Recent)

Globe and Mail (March 20, 2020). Interviewed  and quoted on issue of teaching children at home during the COV19 pandemic by Caroline Alphonso, “What does school look like without the classroom?”  .

The Atlantic (October 27, 2018). To prevent loneliness, start in the classroom.  Ashley Fetters quotes my work on teaching history and civics from multiple perspectives to foster empathy and quell alienation among diverse groups of students.

CBC News (September 1, 2019). Interviewed and quoted regarded alternative and democratic schools aims and history by reporter Maryse Zeidler, “No grades, no curriculum: Parents lobby for ‘democratic’ school in Vancouver.”

Ross, E. W. (2018, September 23). Are private schools better than public schools? Perception versus reality. Times-Colonist (Victoria, BC). Retrieved from https://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/op-ed/comment-are-private-schools-better-than-public-schools-perception-versus-reality-1.23439962

Selected Publications

Many of my books and articles are available at: Academia.edu and ResearchGate

Recent Books

Ross, E. W. (Ed.). (forthcoming). The social studies curriculum: Purposes, problems and possibilities (5th Ed.). State University of New York Press.

Plá, S., & Ross, E. W. (Eds.). (2023). The new social studies education in Latin America: Critical perspectives from the Global South. Routledge.

Ross, E. W. (2017). Rethinking social studies: Critical pedagogy and the pursuit of dangerous citizenship. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Recent Articles & Book Chapters:

Plá, S., & Ross, E. W. (2023). The new social studies research in Latin America: An introduction. In S. Plá & E. W. Ross (Eds.). Social studies education in Latin America: Critical perspectives from the Global South (pp. 1-19). Routledge.

Mathison, S., & Ross, E. W. (2022). Critical education. In A. Maisuria (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of Marxism and education (pp. 129-146). Brill.

Ross, E. W. (2022). A Crisis within a crisis: Teaching, learning, and democracy under neoliberalism during the pandemic. In F. Mizikaci & E. Ata (Eds.). Critical pedagogy and the Covid-19 pandemic: Keeping communities together in the times of crisis. (pp. 91-109). Bloomsbury.

Mathison, S., & Ross. E. W. (2022). Beyond education as usual: Public education in a post-Covid world. In D. Selwyn (Ed.). At the center of all possibilities: Transforming education for our children’s future (pp. 37-43). Peter Lang.

Ross, E. W. (2022). Insurgent pedagogy and dangerous citizenship. In N. Merchant, S. Shear, & W. Au (Eds.), Insurgent social studies: Scholar-educators disrupting reassure and marginality (pp. 207-212). Myers Education Press.

Ross, E. W. (2022). Meditative inquiry and reimagining critical education. In A. Kumar (Ed.), Engaging with meditative inquiry in teaching, learning, and research: Realizing transformative potentials in diverse contexts (pp. 263-268). Routledge.

Ross, E. W. (2021). Society, democracy, and economics: Challenges for social studies and citizenship education in a neoliberal world. In F. Christian, U. Hagedorn, R. Hedtke, P. Mittnik, & G. Tafner, Georg (Eds.), Wirtschaft, gesellschaf und politick: Sozioökonomische und politische bildung in schule und hochschule (pp. 33-51). Springer VS. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-32910-5_3

Ross, E. W. (2020). Why are things as they are? Action research and the transformation of work and education in the neoliberal age. Canadian Journal of Action Research, 21(1), 10-26. https://journals.nipissingu.ca/index.php/cjar/article/view/515

Ross, E. W. (2020). Humanización de la pedagogía crítica: ¿Qué clase de profesores? ¿Qué clase de ciudadanía? ¿Qué clase de futuro? (Sonia Bazán, Trans.). Revista de Educación, 21(1), 17-37. Retrieved from http://fh.mdp.edu.ar/revistas/index.php/r_educ/issue/view/224/showToc

Ross, E. W. (2020). History and social studies curriculum. In Oxford research encyclopedia of education. Oxford University Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.1062 

Ross, E. W. (2018). Humanizing critical pedagogy: What kind of teachers? What kind of citizenship? What kind of future? Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 40(5), 371-389. DOI: 10.1080/10714413.2019.1570792

Sant, E., Lewis, S., Delgado, S., & Ross, E. W.,  (2018). Justice and global citizenship education. In I. Davies (Ed.), The Palgrave handbook of global citizenship and education (pp. 227-243).  Palgrave.

Courses Taught

EDCP 333 – Curriculum Issues in Social Studies Education
This course is based on the premise that good social studies teaching and learning requires teachers and students to pose and analyze problems in the process of understanding and transforming our world. In other words, social studies education should not be about passively absorbing someone else’s conception of the world, but rather it should be an exercise in creating a personally meaningful understanding of the way the world is and how one might act to transform it. To that end, this course focuses six key topics in the social studies curriculum: democracy and citizenship; race; First Nations/aboriginal peoples; social class; gender and sexuality; and globalization.

EDUC 500 – Research Methodology in Education
An introduction to educational and social research for practitioners in schools and human services. The focus will be on fundamental issues in research including research methodology and research techniques (e.g., data collection, analysis and interpretation). This is not a research design or statistics course. In this course we will focus on: (a) developing an understanding of various kinds of educational and social research; (b) developing skills that will facilitate critical reading of educational and social research; and (c) exploring the role and use of research techniques to reflect upon and improve practice.

EDCP 508 (032) – History, Theories, and Practices of Alternative Education
Since the 1980s, schools have been subjected to increased standardization, test-based accountability, and corporate management models, trends often labeled as the global education reform movement or GERM. One of the key effects of GERM on curriculum and teaching has been the search for low-risk ways to meet learning goals, undermining alternative and experimental pedagogical approaches and risk-taking in the classroom. This seminar will explore histories, ideologies, and practices of alternative education movements. A key aim of the course is to examine the various cultures of learning, teaching, and curriculum embedded within the diverse landscape of alternative education and the implications for formal and informal education today. Emphasis will be placed on (but not limited too) the liberal/progressive and anarchist/libertarian traditions of alternative education, including movements such as democratic free schools, unschooling/deschooling, as well as Socialist Sunday Schools, Modern Schools (Ferrer Schools).

EDCP 562 – Introduction to Curriculum Studies
History and development of the curriculum emphasizing the underlying perspectives that inform curricular choices and activities; principles and issues related to organization, development and evaluation.

EDCP 564 – Texts, Politics, and Ideologies of Curriculum Development
This course examines the content and ideology of school curriculum, both past and present, within the Canadian context and beyond. The course also includes analyses of political and economic influences on curriculum, materials development, and related discourses.

EDCP 568 – Curricula in their Historical Context

This course focuses on curriculum history, politics, and theory with specific reference to the scholarship in curriculum studies and related fields. The course examines influences upon, and prominent themes, issues and trends within, the history of the school curriculum in North America and beyond. Students will acquire familiarity with the work of some of the principal scholars conducting research in this area. They will have the opportunity to conduct their own original research using primary and secondary source materials, in order to investigate questions related to a school subject or other topic in which they are interested, and to situate this topic within the wider context of the history of curriculum.

EDCP 601 – Curriculum and Pedagogy: History and Theory
This seminar is intended for first-year doctoral students. It examines the emergence of contemporary conceptions of curriculum and pedagogy, looking across various historical and theoretical influences. Emphasis is placed on analysis of varied conceptual and political perspectives, explicit and tacit rationales for formal education, and consequent principles that infuse conceptions and enactments of curriculum and pedagogy.

EDCP 602 – Curriculum and Pedagogy: Conceptualizing Research

This seminar is intended for first-year doctoral students. It unpacks the epistemological and ontological positions of various paradigms used in contemporary social research, particularly studies of curriculum and pedagogy. The principle aim of the course is to examine how we conceptualize research. Various theoretical perspectives will be examined including: positivism, constructionism, interpretivism, and critical inquiry. The guiding questions for the course are: What methods do we propose to use? What methodology governs our choice and use of methods? What theoretical perspective lies behind the methodology in question? What epistemology informs this theoretical perspective?