A Tiny Clinic for the Soul?

I visited the British Library in London a few evenings ago to listen to a talk given by Alberto Manguel, the author of The Library at Night and A History of Reading. Manguel, no stranger to poetic metaphor, described libraries as a “clinic for the soul” and spoke of learning to read as “akin to falling in love, like an epiphany or a contagion.” Listening to someone talking with passion and authority about the places and spaces where readers read is something that I treasure, partly because it is so rare to hear anyone mention the built environment in connection…

On Being an Ethnographer

I’m writing in the arid, breezy shade outside my £10 per night hotel in northeastern Uganda. This weekend I’m taking a break from PhD life. Not really. I’m actually here to interview alumnae from the secondary school where my research is based. Being an ethnographer, everyday and every moment can be a research moment.  There is taking a break, but not turning off. My master’s supervisor, Dr. David Mills, with Morton, describe on the first page of their book that ethnography is ‘being, seeing, writing.  Simple participles that belie the complexity of their meanings.’ (Mills & Morton, 2013). They write…

Historically Burdened Concepts in Education

My work focuses on four terms with burdened histories: intelligence, genetics, race, and socio-economic status. Broadly, I use mixed-methods and intersectionality theory to examine how genetics research into intelligence and educational attainment might affect the United States education system, where documented racial and socioeconomic disparities prevail and where teacher perceptions of student ability are known to affect student performance and referrals for gifted education programs (Elhoweris et al, 2005; Gillborn et al, 2012; Grissom, 2016; Slate et al, 1990). Intelligence is a highly charged word with ties to racist, classist, and eugenic narratives. As a highly valued quality, it has been used…