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Marguerite Wilson, PhD

Assistant Professor

Office: University Downtown Center, Room 417
Office Phone: 607-777-9238
Fax: 607-777-7587


Marguerite Wilson is an anthropologist of education whose research agenda focuses on ethnographically understanding and transforming the cultural conditions in schools that produce inequitable outcomes. Using the methodological tools of critical ethnography, discourse analysis, and the theoretical lenses of critical race theory (CRT) and critical whiteness studies (CWS), Wilson’s research seeks to understand the (re)production of both educational advantage and disadvantage.

Wilson received her PhD in education from the University of California, Davis, with an emphasis in Language, Literacy, and Culture. Her dissertation, an ethnographic study of a radically alternative Sudbury school, focused on the transformative possibilities and limitations of the Sudbury pedagogical approach as a private school ultimately focused on socialization of an elite class of students. Her current collaborative work is focused on understanding and interrupting the national trend of racialized disciplinary practices in schools through an innovative approach to parent engagement. This approach facilitates the co-creation of empowering spaces for parents of color who have been marginalized by the school system to become change agents in the schools their children attend.

Educational background

  • PhD, education (Language, Literacy, and Culture), University of California, Davis
  • MA, education, University of California, Davis
  • BA, psychology and education, University of California, Santa Cruz


Courses developed and regularly taught

  • HDEV 305, Child Development
  • HDEV 335, Gender, Development and Education
  • HDEV 407, Social Construction of Whiteness

Current and ongoing research interests

  • Critical ethnography and relations of power in the production of knowledge

  • The intersections of race, class, and gender in producing student identities in schools

  • Racialized school discipline and the school-to-prison pipeline

  • The application of critical race theory (CRT) and critical whiteness studies (CWS) to parent engagement research and practice

  • Cultural contexts of child development and constructions of childhood

Selected publications

  • Wilson, M. A. F. (2016, in press). Problematizing child-centeredness: Discourses of control in Waldorf education. Global Studies of Childhood.
  • Wilson, M. A. F. (2016). The traces of a radical education: Neoliberal rationality in Sudbury student imaginings of educational opportunities. Critical Education, 7(6), 1-20. 
  • Wilson, M. A. F., & Scarbrough, B. (2016). Discourses and practices of neoliberal exclusivity in two niches of educational “choice.” Critical Studies in Education. OnlineFirst:
  • Wilson, M. A. F.(2016). Neoliberal ideology in a private Sudbury school. Policy Futures in Education. OnlineFirst:
  • Convertino, C., Brown, A., & Wilson, M. A. F. (2016). Public borders, private crossings: Anthropological approaches to mapping neoliberalism and corporatization in U.S. educational policy and spaces. Policy Futures in Education. OnlineFirst:
  • Wilson, M. A. F. (2015). Radical democratic schooling on the ground: Pedagogical ideals and realities in a Sudbury school. Ethnography and Education, 10(2), 121-136.
  • Wilson, M. A. F. (2014). Constructing childhood and teacher authority in a Waldorf daycare. Critical Discourse Studies, 11(2), 211-229.
  • Wilson, M. A. F. (2011). "Their play is different": Power, language, and gender socialization at a Waldorf daycare. In Irby, B., & Brown, G. H. (eds.), Gender and Early Learning Environments, pp. 1-28. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Last Updated: 9/15/17