derek r. ford is an academic, teacher, artist, and organizer living in Syracuse, NY. 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.
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 capitalism, yet they are also where capitalism is 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. To make this analysis more concrete, the revolutionary critical pedagogy for space developed in the dissertation is read through the Baltimore Rebellion of 2015.
Another research project examines the air conditions of education–such as the technologies and ideologies of air conditioning–and how these inform and express educational theories and architectures.
His research–and activism–is guided by historical materialism and extensively informed by post-structuralism, Marxism, and continental philosophy. 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. He is co-chair of the Education Department at the Hampton Institute. 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. He is also a regular commentator on PressTV.