The purpose of this introductory chapter is to identify and situate the key questions and issues taken up in the volume and its constitutive essays, as well as presenting an overview of the main lines of theoretical debate and development reflected in the contributions: coloniality/decolonization; power; voice and re-presentation; and intersectionality. The authors highlight the volume’s central premise: that radical, inclusive and decolonizing change is imperative for the field of comparative and international education (CIE) research and practice. After first framing the volume as part of a continuing conversation begun at the 2017 CIES Symposium of the same name (“Interrogating and Innovating CIE Research”), the authors then identify and discuss some of the key theoretical debates and questions emergent from the Symposium activities and conversations and extended by the volume contributors, including issues related to identifying and understanding the problem(s), ideas for change, as well as assessing the opportunities and challenges for affecting meaningful and sustained changes in the way CIE researchers think about and do their work. Following this, the chapter presents the organization of the book and shares highlights from each of the contributing chapters, showing how the different pieces respond to, build on and extend the Symposium dialogue and calls to action.
In this chapter we frame the future of CIE research at a time of conflicting and intersecting ideas. Where do we want CIE research to go? At the symposium, speakers debated the complexity of quality, rigor, impact, and ethics as those issues pertained to new developments in the field. Over the past twenty years we see shifts in methodological approaches to move beyond the narrower definitions of empiricism and science. This chapter continues this call for methodological and onto-epistemological imagination to ask novice and experienced scholars to expand our definitions of quality and to seek out methods to diversify audiences, values, and outcomes. We push researchers to ask themselves if it is possible to engage with researcher reflexivity and the decolonization of methods while conducting research that is seen as ‘scientific’ and has the impacts we – and those to whom we are answerable, desire? Finally, we explore how our various ontological and epistemological identities and subjectivities find a space in the development, implementation, and dissemination of research. We argue that scholars must push the system in equitable directions by agreeing that impact can be broader than citation figures and by reflecting the transformation of individual or community lived experiences.
Conversations related to epistemology and methodology have been present in comparative and international education (CIE) since the field’s inception. How CIE phenomena are studied, the questions asked, the tools used, and ideas about knowledge and reality that they reflect, shape the nature of the knowledge produced, the valuing of that knowledge, and the implications for practice in diverse societies. This book is part of a growing conversation in which the ways that standardized practices in CIE research have functioned to reproduce problematic hierarchies, silences and exclusions of diverse peoples, societies, knowledges, and realities. Argued is that there must be recognition and understanding of the negative consequences of hegemonic onto-epistemologies and methodologies in CIE, dominantly sourced in European social science traditions, that continue to shape and influence the design, implementation and dissemination/application of CIE research knowledge. Yet, while critical reflection is necessary, it alone is insufficient to realize the transformative change called for: as students, researchers, practitioners and policymakers, we must hear and heed calls for concrete action to challenge, resist and transform the status quo in the field and work to further realize a more ethical and inclusive CIE.
Interrogating and Innovating Comparative and International Research presents a series of conceptual and empirically-based essays that critically explore and problematize the dominance of Eurocentric epistemological and methodological traditions in CIE research. As an action-oriented volume, the contributions do not end with critique, rather suggestions are made and orientations modelled from different perspectives about the possibilities for change in CIE.
Contributors are: Emily Anderson, Supriya Baily, Gerardo L. Blanco, Alisha Braun, Erik Jon Byker, Meagan Call-Cummings, Brendan J. DeCoster, D. Brent Edwards Jr., Sothy Eng, Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher, Jeremy Gombin-Sperling, Kelly Grace, Radhika Iyengar, Huma Kidwai, Lê Minh Hằng, Caroline Manion, Patricia S. Parker, Leigh Patel, Timothy D. Reedy, Karen Ross, Betsy Scotto-Lavino, Payal P. Shah, Derrick Tu, and Matthew A. Witenstein.