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 is an Associate Professor of Education at Boston College and 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. Her daily work has been with youth who are marginalized through those structures.
Professor Patel, also published under Lisa Patel Stevens, is the 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 a national board member of Education for Liberation, a long-standing organization dedicated to transformative education for marginalized populations.
Decolonizing educational research: From ownership to answerability
Now available through Routledge Press.
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 public talks and appearances:
When Justice is a handmaiden
10th Annual Equity and Social Justice Conference
Virginia Commonwealth University
March 4, 2017
Panel discussion: The pedagogy of teacher activism
With BPS teacher Natalia Cuadra-Saez, BTU candidate Jessica Tang, and author Keith Catone
Harvard Graduate School of Education
March 7, 5:30
March 17, 2pm
Uncollapsing categories in educational research
Ohio State University
March 22, 2017
Media from selected talks:
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
Video interview on Youth held at the border
Panel on immigration and policy implications
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