Call for abstracts – Critical conversations on knowledge, curriculum and epistemic justice: a symposium in memory of Suellen Shay

Suellen Shay has made a significant contribution as a scholar, a teacher and supervisor in higher education studies. Driven by her commitment to working for change for greater justice and equity in higher education, Suellen contributed to student and staff development, established and led a postgraduate programme in higher education studies, contributed to institutional and national policy development and served as Dean of the Centre for Higher Education Development at the University of Cape Town. She also served for almost a decade as Executive Editor for Teaching in Higher Education.

For her many colleagues and collaborators, Suellen has left behind fond memories of working with her and also a rich body of scholarly work. Her scholarly career began with the completion of a PhD on assessment as a socially-situated practice. Thereafter she embarked on a programme of theoretically-informed empirical research that informed policy work on assessment, access in the South African context, re-framing education development and theorizing the field of higher education more broadly. Working in the social realist tradition of sociology of education, she made a substantial contribution to researching and theorizing the differentiation and progression of curriculum knowledge, including the theorization of vocational and professional knowledge and higher education as a professional field. Through this body of work, Suellen has had an on-going impact on policy and practice in the higher education field – both internationally and locally in South Africa.

In memory of Suellen’s life and as a testament to the ongoing impact of her scholarship, colleagues from Teaching in Higher Education, the University of Cape Town and beyond, plan to host a one-day online Symposium early in May 2022. The aim of the symposium will be to generate broad, deep and critical contemporary engagement with her body of work (see suggested themes below) and its implications for higher education scholarship and practice. The aim of the Symposium is to generate conversations, emergent perspectives and ideas around the themes Suellen worked on and/or the theoretical resources she drew from. We invite contributions that engage in conversation with Suellen’s work in relation to, but not limited to, the following themes and conceptual frames:

Innovations and challenges to working for equity, access and epistemic justice in higher education, including rethinking student development, curriculum and assessment policy and practice;
Theorizing the higher education field (as professional practice), including conversations around staff development and programmes in higher education studies;
Shifts in assessment in higher education – policy and practice;
Contestations around reforming or decolonizing the higher education curriculum for epistemic justice;
The implications of institutional and /or knowledge differentiation for curriculum and pedagogy;
Theoretical conversations that engage critically with the Bernsteinian or social realist tradition of sociology of (higher) education.

Depending on the number and quality of papers submitted, we hope to publish the papers as a special issue in Teaching in Higher Education. (If there are insufficient completed papers for a special issue we will discuss alternatives with the authors concerned.)

You are invited to submit an abstract of up to 500 words here by 5pm GMT on Monday 22nd November 2021. The organisers will get back to you by mid-January 2022 latest to inform you about acceptance of your abstract for the Symposium. Deadline for submission of draft papers will be 18th April 2022 after which the programme for the Symposium will be circulated. Final papers are to be submitted to Teaching in Higher Education by 13th June 2022.

Editor: Kathy Luckett, University of Cape Town, South Africa. [email protected]

Guest Editor: Mags Blackie, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.  [email protected]

List of Key Publications by Suellen Shay

Shay, S. and T. Peseta (eds.) (2020) Curriculum as Contestation. Routledge: Abingdon.

Shay, S. and T. Mkwize (2018) Curriculum transformation: looking back and planning forward. In P. Ashwin and J. Case (eds.) Pathways to Personal and Public Good. African Mind: Cape Town.

Luckett, K. and S. Shay (2018) Reframing the curriculum: a transformative approach. Critical Studies in Education, 61(1), 50-65.

Shay, S. and T. Peseta (2016). Editorial: a socially just curriculum reform agenda. Teaching in Higher Education, 21(4), 361-366.

Maton, K., S. Hood and S. Shay (eds.) (2016) Knowledge-building: educational studies in legitimation code theory. Routledge: Abingdon.

Shay, S., K. Wolff and J. Clarence-Fincham (2016) Curriculum reform in South Africa: more time for what? Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning, 4(1), 74-88.

Shay, S. and D. Steyn (2016) Enabling knowledge progression in vocational curricula: design as a case study. In K. Maton, S. Hood and S. Shay (eds.) Knowledge-building: Educational Studies in Legitimation Code Theory. Routledge: Abingdon.

Burke, P.J. and S. Shay (eds.) (2016) Making sense of teaching in difficult times. Routledge: Abingdon.

Shay, S. (2015) Curriculum reform in higher education: a contested space. Teaching in Higher Education, 20(4), 431-441.

Shay, S. (2013) Conceptualizing curriculum differentiation in higher education: a sociology of knowledge point of view. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 34(4), 563-582.

Shay, S. (2012) Educational development as a field: are we there yet? Higher Education Research and Development, 31(3), 311-323.

Shay, S., P. Ashwin and J. Case (2009) Editorial: a critical engagement with research into higher education: a call for reflexivity. Studies in Higher Education, 34(4), 373-375.

Shay, S. (2008) Beyond social constructive perspectives on assessment: the centering of knowledge. Teaching in Higher Education, 13(5), 595-605.

Shay, S. (2008) Researching assessment as social practice: implications for research methodology. International Journal of Educational Research, 47(3), 159-164.

Shay, S. (2005) The assessment of complex tasks: a double reading. Studies in Higher Education, 30(6), 663-679.

Shay, S. (2004) The assessment of complex performance: a socially-situated interpretive act. Harvard Educational Review, 74(3), 307-329.

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