Leigh Patel is an interdisciplinary researcher, educator, and writer. Her work addresses the narratives that facilitate societal structures.With a background in sociology, she researches and teaches about education as a site of social reproduction and as a potential site for transformation. She works extensively with societally marginalized youth and teacher activists. Prior to working in the academy, Professor Patel was a journalist, a teacher, and a state-level policymaker. Across all of these experiences, her focus has been on the ways that education structures opportunities in society and the stories that are told about those opportunities.
Professor Patel, also published under Lisa Patel Stevens, is the award-winning author of Decolonizing Educational Research: From Ownership to Answerability (Routledge), Youth Held at the Border: Immigration, Education and the Politics of Inclusion (Teachers College Press), co-author of Critical Literacy: Context, Research, and Praxis in the K-12 Classroom (Sage) and co-editor of ReConstructing the Adolescent: Sign, Symbol and Body (Peter Lang Publishers). She has authored dozens of scholarly articles and book chapters and has been a consistent voice in educational policymaking and policy analysis over a number of years. Her writing and research has also been featured in media outlets including Beacon Broadside, The Atlantic, The Feminist Wire, Racialicious.com and HuffPost Live. She is receipient of the June Jordan Award for scholarly leadership and poetic bravery in social critique. She is a national board member of Education for Liberation, a long-standing organization dedicated to transformative education for and by youth of color.
Professor Patel is currently working on her next book entitled, "To study is to struggle: Higher education and settler colonialism"