William Pinar

Professor

Research Classification

Education Systems

Research Interests

History

Relevant Degree Programs

 

Research Methodology

Intellectual history
autobiography
theory development

Recruitment

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Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows
2019

Curriculum Studies in Canada

I support public scholarship, e.g. through the Public Scholars Initiative, and am available to supervise students and Postdocs interested in collaborating with external partners as part of their research.
I support experiential learning experiences, such as internships and work placements, for my graduate students and Postdocs.
I am open to hosting Visiting International Research Students (non-degree, up to 12 months).

Great Supervisor Week Mentions

Each year graduate students are encouraged to give kudos to their supervisors through social media and our website as part of #GreatSupervisorWeek. Below are students who mentioned this supervisor since the initiative was started in 2017.

 

Professor Pinar inspires you both by his scholarly knowledge and by his humble attitude towards. His perceptive personality gives you a supportive and caring space to know yourself. He provides a valuable opportunity to take your time during your learning experience. I am proud of my doctoral experience at UBC mainly because of his guidelines, patience, and dedication to my learning experience. He is extraordinary!

Saeed Nazari (2019)

 

Professor William Pinar provokes your thoughts to reflect on how your educational experience has constructed your reality of the world and supports your transformational experience by his scholarship and deeply-rooted character. I am delighted to favour this valuable opportunity to learn from his scholarship as my supervisor in my doctoral program in EDCP, UBC.

Saeed Nazari (2018)

 

Dr. Pinar is a supervisor who inspires not only through the words of his writing and speech, but also through his actions, his attitude, and the personal relationships he establishes with his students. He asks difficult, thought-provoking questions, but they are always directed at advancing one's thoughts and refining students' ideas. His purpose: To think and write in a way that is honest, rigorous, authentic, significant, and meaningful--all of which he models in outstanding ways. He is the kind of person I aspire to be.

Fernando Murillo (2017)

 

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
Bildung, psychoanalysis, and the formation of subjectivity in educational experience (2018)

In a time when the very thought of education is pervaded by the language and practices of standardization and efficiency, our subjectivity–the inner space of human experience that makes up who we are as singular beings–gets lost. As such, the very existence of the subject and its possibilities of reconstruction are at stake. Working from a reconceptualized field of curriculum, this study takes up the question of formation and asks in what ways subjectivity might get constituted through educational experience. The German notion of Bildung–which posits education as a process of formation or “becoming oneself”–offers crucial insights to the rethinking of educational experience today, in the effort to reclaim subjectivity, along with its sense of existential significance. Studying the process from a psychoanalytic perspective, I wish to shift the discussion of educational experience from psychological, behavioral, and other pragmatic connotations, and return it to a speculative philosophical investigation of what it means to become who we are, and what that entails in terms of desire and the unconscious. Exploring the phenomenon of subjective formation in relation to aspects such as philosophical anthropology, psychic dynamics, technology, and Eros, I come to conclude that an education that is inattentive to the inner life of the subject cannot be properly called education. The free associations I establish between curricular and psychoanalytic theory leads me to a basic and yet fundamental understanding of the process of becoming: the idea that subjectivity gets reconstructed in educational experience through an ongoing dialectic of struggle and reconciliation. While this dialectic exposes the drama of the split condition of the subject, with its failures and frustrations, it also offers the promise of the possibility of subjective reconstruction and change. It is an invitation to take risks, to learn to let go, and to imagine what might be.

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Currere and subjective reconstruction (2018)

No abstract available.

Grief and the curriculum of cosmopolitanism (2017)

In this dissertation, grief is explored as a path to enlivening and enacting a curriculumof cosmopolitanism. Grief in this research is understood as that which presses heavily uponus, that is, grief is not understood solely as bereavement, but as those experiences that weighheavily on our lives. This research contends that it is through attending to the heaviness ofpeople’s experiences that the relationship between self and other – the foundation ofcosmopolitanism – can become central to curriculum.This research suggests that the traditional canon of knowledge that schools andcurriculum developers rely on is primarily exclusionary to epistemologies and ontologies ofthe nonwhite and female world. As a result, the curriculum reflects only certain studentpopulations while others are cast aside as ghosts haunting the curriculum. The undervaluingof certain epistemologies and ontologies in curriculum and society creates space for bigotryand the caricaturizing of the ghosts of the curriculum. Exploring cosmopolitanism whilecasting aside certain kinds of knowledge and ways of knowing perpetuates non-cosmopolitanrealities. For cosmopolitanism to be enacted, it needs to be explored and understood beyondthe traditional canon. This dissertation makes use of autobiography to disrupt thecosmopolitan canon.Grief is inherently the endurance of violence, and it is through the Intimate Dialogue,a method of attending to grief inter-subjectively, that violence can be undone. This is a formof pacifism that sheds the notion of passivity and becomes an active response to violence.

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Self-care and care-for-others in education (2015)

In this study I articulate what it means to care for the self and care for others, and the association between the two. Juxtaposing self-understanding through the method of currere and studying the historical character of hakbeolism, I articulate how self-understanding in conjunction with historical study, together allegorically, can be a transformative possibility that may contribute to subjective reconstruction which can be a way of self-care.After discussing how Korean schooling exercises coercive care, disconfirmation, and the “whip of love” for the students’ own good, I ponder how having one’s own standards can be a way of making one’s life a work of art without entirely conforming to externally imposed standards. My special emphasis is on the internalization of external standards in students and on teachers’ and parents’ culpability in practicing and reproducing them. Focusing on Nel Noddings’ ethic of care and analyzing The King’s Speech, I discuss how care-for-others can contribute to self-understanding, indeed to building an authentic self-self relationship.What might an education with self-care and care-for-others look like? I imagine that it may be one that allows and encourages students to come up with their own standards, perhaps with the help of or in relationship with others. However, there are structural and relational challenges in exercising self-care and care-for-others and keeping a balance between them. I suggest breaking the unnecessary linkage between our ethic and the constraining structures, teaching and learning, and our preference and reality, and that by doing so it is possible to build linkages between our knowledge and ethics, which requires our courage, and ethicality to make professional judgment. Arguing that self-care and care-for-others are intrinsically intertwined, I suggest that we may be able to keep a balance between them using discernment, surrendering to reality, and that in the discernment we may be able to make better decisions for the well-being of the self, others, and the society.

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The primacy of the ethical in a cosmopolitan education : Fukushima Daiichi and other global risks (2013)

While this dissertation responds to and builds upon various iterations of why cosmopolitanism?, I also articulate the meaning of a cosmopolitan education in ways that are different from previous arguments and descriptions: as actually existing global phenomena and as an ethical response to such phenomena. Drawing upon Ulrich Beck’s writings on world risk theory and cosmopolitan realism, I discuss the Fukushima nuclear disaster as a case of actually existing cosmopolitanism, or world risk turned catastrophe. At once a local and global environmental disaster that has consequences for a “non-excludable plurality,” the irresponsibility that contributed to and continues to be at play regarding fallout from Fukushima summons a transnational, planetary ethic of responsibility. Whereas nuclear meltdowns and warfare, pandemics, and global financial crises are world risks turned catastrophes whose consequences can be validated empirically, I also consider world risks that are intangible, impossible to ascertain with evidence-based research. By way of the faculty of the imagination, I draw a link between Chernobyl heart deform and United States “school deform”; I also read Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, specifically Raskolnikov’s dream of a worldwide plague as an allegory for the breakdown of the faculty of judgment across time and place. What might an ethic of responsibility in response to world risks look like? Drawing upon theoretical writings on cosmopolitanism and empirical realities that solicit responsible actions, I contend that acting with the faculty of judgment and a compassionate heart are vital to re/creating the world. In writing upon judgment, I turn to Hannah Arendt whose style of writing about totalitarianism and its antithesis, freedom, is just as important for understanding what it means to judge and to act responsibly as is the content of what she writes. I question if judgment is the only faculty needed to live an ethical life, to act ethically toward others in an increasingly interconnected, codependent world. While Arendt is critical, even dismissive of the role that compassion has played in politics, I contend that a both/and rather than either/or ethic which includes judgment and compassion ought to work together to re/fashion a world habitable for all.

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Trauma and the elsewhere of queer : autobiography and the erotics of haunting (2012)

This dissertation is an inquiry into the future of queer theory after the death of Eve Sedgwick. A founding scholar of the field, Sedgwick radically changed thinking about sexuality in history in ways that have critically defined queerness not only in relation to but also as temporality. Commenting on the brevity of a future that sees, too frequently, "the brutal foreshortening of so many queer life spans" (2003, p. 148), Sedgwick anticipated an end not of queer theory but rather of her own life. This dissertation argues that Sedgwick's death, far from signalling that queer theory is over, marks an occasion for re-evaluating the field that can be at once a return and a movement toward a future. In mourning and memorializing her, queer scholars enact a return to the politics that gave rise to Sedgwick's theorizing. At the same time we turn the focus inward, narrating in various forms of personal voice what her loss has meant. This dissertation continues and begins again the queer work forged by Sedgwick by drawing connections between the personal and the collective. Intervening into theories of negativity that have become pervasive in the field, it turns to her reparative mode of reading while still acknowledging the damage and aggression that are at the heart of psychic life. Weaving memoir and critical essay in a way that methodologically reference Sedgwick's innovative use of form, this dissertation queerly disrupts medicalized and pathologized accounts of illness, sexuality, and trauma. It brings into public view and connects to other histories accounts of my personal experiences of anorexia and self-harm in ways that mark a continuation of and, critically, are permitted by an engagement with Sedgwick's work. In this sense the question emerges: Might the future of queer theory be found in a reading of Sedgwick after Sedgwick?

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Collective memoir as public pedagogy : a study of narrative, writing, and memory (2011)

This dissertation investigates the ways in which literary practices can be used to generate learning. It is guided by the following research questions:• How can the processes of writing memoir change our perceptions of the past?• How can these writing processes be theorized and understood as educational events?Data are provided by two research groups, one composed of seven older lesbians and one composed of 26 older LGBT individuals known as the Queer Imaging & Riting Kollective for Elders (Quirk-e), an arts-engaged community group with whom I have worked for the last five years. In the first case, practices of close reading, memoir writing, and discussion were conducted, and discussions were digitally recorded and transcribed. In the second, data are provided by the artwork produced by the members of Quirk-e and by my reflections upon my practices as their writer-in-residence. Data are also provided by my own creative compositions, which serve as interludes between the standalone papers that comprise the body of the dissertation. Data are analyzed through critical and literary interpretations, autobiographical and narrative methods, and conceptual inquiry. I conclude that unpacking memories and life experiences by writing memoir can lead to more nuanced understandings of the self and the culture in which it has developed. I also conclude that such learning can be assisted by paying close attention to specific memories, using processes of association, and then by considering the emergent genres and structures that frame the work as it is revised. Finally, I consider my practices as a public pedagogue in the light of these reflections, to begin to consider how teaching might be usefully considered as a form of artistic composition, with its own emergent genres.

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Understanding curriculum as meditative inquiry : a study of the ideas of Jiddu Krishnamurti and James Macdonald (2011)

In Understanding Curriculum As Meditative Inquiry: A Study of the Ideas of JidduKrishnamurti and James Macdonald, I study the relationship among consciousness,meditative inquiry, and curriculum. I argue that human consciousness, which is the basis ofour thinking, feeling, and action, is common to all humanity and is in crisis. This crisis ofconsciousness—which is characterized by fear, conditioning, becoming, and fragmentation—affects and is deeply affected by the nature of contemporary educational institutions.Contemporary educational institutions create in children fear of authority, exams, andpunishment. They also condition their minds with state-controlled and market-drivenknowledge. In addition, modern educational institutions alienate children from their bodies,emotions, and spirits due to their overemphasis on cognitive learning.The crisis of consciousness is an existential problem and, therefore, in order tounderstand its depth and complexities we require an existential approach. Meditative inquiry,which is to be aware of the movement of consciousness without analysis or judgment, is anexistential approach to understanding and transforming consciousness to create a peacefulworld. On the one hand, meditative inquiry underscores the limitations of thinking andanalysis and, on the other hand, it emphasizes meditative listening and observation.Because of the existential nature of our consciousness and the significance of meditativeinquiry to comprehending the former, I propose viewing curriculum as a space for meditativeinquiry. Curriculum as meditative inquiry is a transformative approach to educationalexperience that aspires to undermine and possibly dissolve the conflicted nature of ourconsciousness by cultivating a deeper sense of awareness. Specifically, curriculum asmeditative inquiry emphasizes the arts of listening and seeing to have a deeper perceptioninto one’s own consciousness and one’s relationships. It encourages the cultivation of thequalities of openness, aesthetics, and freedom in educational experience. Viewed from theperspective of meditative inquiry, education no more remains a problem of informationtransmission or means-end learning. On the contrary, it emerges as a space of freedom wherethe main focus is to learn about oneself and one’s relationships to people, nature, and ideas.

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Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Foucault's Ethics in Education (2015)

No abstract available.

 
 

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