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, "There is No Study Without Struggle: Higher education and Settler Colonialism," forthcoming from Beacon Press in 2019
Decolonizing educational research: From ownership to answerability
Available through Routledge Press.
"An important crossroads for critical educational research...Patel has done something quite generous and generative for educational research: she has offered it an opportunity to reframe and redirect itself. She has offered it a lifeline."
Youth held at the border: Immigration, education and the politics of inclusion
Available through TC Press.
Named an American Educational Studies Association Critics' Book Choice of 2013
Nominated for the American Educational Research Association and National Association for Multicultural Education annual book
"It is no surprise that in Youth Held at the Border Patel has written the kind of book that education needs: a book careful to mold overpoliticized debates--in this case immigration--to the shape of the everyday lives, hearts, and minds of young people. This is a book that sounds a moral call we must heed."
Harvard Educational Review
Upcoming talks and appearances:
Coretta Scott King and Freedom Dreams
Intersectionality and higher education leadership
American Educational Research Association
Division G Graduate Student Pre-Conference Keynote Speaker
Guba Annual Keynote
Media from selected talks:
UC Davis Equity Summit Keynote
Podcast on educational research and settler colonialism
Panel on Toward what Justice, convened by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, with Nirmala Erevelles, Jen Jack Gieseking, Michael J. Dumas, and discussant Kris Gutierrez
Immigration and the politics of inclusion, Syrcause University
BC Library interview on Youth held at the border
Panel on immigration, higher education, and the politics of inclusion
featuring SIM activist Conrado Santos and community researcher Rocío Sánchez Ares
Panel on race and disability with Osamudia James and Wanda Blanchett