on the subject

derek r. ford is an academic, teacher, artist, and organizer living in Philadelphia. He is a PhD candidate in Cultural Foundations of Education at Syracuse University, studying foundations of education, with a focus on the broad intersections of space, subjectivity, political economy, architecture, and pedagogy. He currently teaches in the Department of Professional and Secondary Education at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.

His dissertation, “Pedagogy, social transformation, and space: Toward a revolutionary critical pedagogy for space” examines the relationship between pedagogy and the production of space. The specific project is to build a revolutionary critical pedagogy that is for space, that is to say, a pedagogy that is oriented toward producing spaces that we actually deserve. The work focuses in on the city as one particularly important spatial formation under capitalism, one in which the global contradictions of capitalism are most acute and concentrated. Cities are absolutely imperative to the reproduction of systems of domination, yet they are also where those systems are most vulnerable to disruption and, potentially, overthrow. Reading critical pedagogy (and radical educational theory more generally) together with critical geography, the work not only spatializes educational theory but, more importantly, educationalizes spatial theory, demonstrating how the production of space is necessarily a process of learning, studying, and teaching.

Building off of this work, another project examines the pedagogy of the Baltimore Rebellion of 2015. Through participant observations, interviews, and theoretical inquiry, this work uncovers the educational framework of teaching, learning, and studying enacted during the rebellion. In particular it looks at the role of street organizations as teachers in the movement.

He has published articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Studies in Philosophy and Education, Educational Philosophy and Theory, Critical Studies in Education, Policy Futures in Education, and borderlands e-journal. His first book (co-authored with Curry Malott), titled Marx, capital, and education: Toward a critical pedagogy of becoming has just been published through Peter Lang. His current book project, Political economy and alterity in education: Pedagogy, subjectivity, and materialism is under contract with Lexington Books. He is co-chair of the Education Department at the Hampton Institute and is a regular commentator on PressTV.