Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University, 1999
Curriculum and Instruction
Room 125B PeikH
159 Pillsbury Dr SE
Please call (612) 625-9809 to schedule an appointment.
Areas of Expertise
Postcolonial and feminist theory, globalization, critical perspectives on multiculturalism, and Asian American studies in relation to education.
In the mid-1980s, armed with my master’s degree in social work (from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Bombay, India), I began working as a research assistant on intervention projects focused on improving the educational achievement levels of children from socioeconomically disadvantaged, marginalized communities in urban and rural contexts in India. It was through this work that I first encountered Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and found my resolve to pursue doctoral studies in education getting ever stronger.
In 1988, I arrived in New York City to do just that at Teachers College, Columbia University. As I began my studies there, I decided to gain some teaching experience in a U.S. elementary classroom to augment my experience teaching K- 12 students as part of the intervention projects in India. As the world of scholarship began opening up to me, my interest in the then-emerging area of multicultural education grew out of my engagement with issues related to the education of Asian American students. Reading for my dissertation, I also began drawing on postcolonial theory to inform my analyses of Asian American and multicultural education. This interest in theory led me to Louisiana State University – where the Curriculum Theory Project is located and where I taught from 1999-2011. At LSU, I was honored to have been named the J. Franklin Bayhi Endowed Professor of Education in 2007 and awarded the College of Education Advocate for Diversity Award in 2011. At LSU, I served as Coordinator of the Holmes Elementary Education Program (2007-2011) and Co-Director of the Curriculum Theory Project (2007-2010), and was on the faculty of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program as well as the Program in Comparative Literature.
Since July 2011, I have been honored to join the faculty of distinguished, highly regarded Department of Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in the role of Department Chair. This large, vibrant department attracts excellent, dedicated scholars and educators – students, faculty, and visiting international scholars, among others – who are interested in curriculum and teaching, theory, research, policy, practice and engagement in relation to such areas as: Art Education, Culture and Teaching, Elementary Education, Learning Technology, Literacy Education, Mathematics Education, Science Education, Second Languages and Cultures, Social Studies Education, and STEM Education. I am also an Affiliate Faculty member of the Department of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
My own scholarship focuses on postcolonial and feminist theory, globalization, critical perspectives on multiculturalism, and Asian American Studies in relation to education. I am thrilled to have received a 2014-15 Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award (Research) from the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, Council for International Exchange of Scholars, Washington, D.C. for my research project, Examining the Intersections of Globalization, Privatization, and Education after two decades of Economic Liberalization in India.
Over the past decade, I have developed and taught such courses as “Postcolonialism and Feminism in Education,” “Globalization, Multiculturalism, and Education,” and “Gender, Race, and Nation.” My numerous service commitments to the field include serving as Book Review Editor for both the NWSAJ (National Women’s Studies Association Journal, now Feminist Formations) from 2007-2009 and the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education from 2007- to date, Chair of the Nominations Committee of the Curriculum Studies Division (Division B) of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), 2011-12 and Chair of the Nominating Committee of AERA’s Teaching and Teacher Education Division (Division K), 2013-14.
Asher, N. (2011). Race, gender, and sexuality. In C. McIlwain & S. M. Caliendo (Eds.), The Routledge companion to race and ethnicity (pp. 64-72). New York: Routledge.
Asher, N. (2010). Decolonizing curriculum. In E. Malewski (Ed.), Curriculum studies handbook: The next moment (pp. 393-402). New York: Routledge.
Asher, N. (2006). Brown in Black and White: On being a South Asian woman academic. In G. Li & G. H. Beckett (Eds.), “Strangers” of the academy: Asian women scholars in higher education (pp. 163-177). Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
Asher, N., & Haj-Broussard, M. (2004). It is not resolved yet: When a Louisiana French Immersion activist engages postcolonial, feminist theory (or vice versa). In R. Gaztambide-Fernández & J. T. Sears (Eds.), Curriculum work as a public moral enterprise (pp. 97-107). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Asher, N. (2001). Rethinking multiculturalism: Attending to Indian American high school students’ stories of negotiating self-representations. In C. C. Park, A. L. Goodwin, & S. J. Lee (Eds.), Research on the education of Asian and Pacific Americans (pp. 55-73). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing, Inc.
Asher, N. (2001). Checking the box: The label of “model minority.” In G. M. Hudak & P. Kihn (Eds.), Labeling: Pedagogy and politics (pp. 75-91). New York: RoutledgeFalmer.
Refereed journal articles
Asher, N. (2010). How does the postcolonial, feminist academic lead?: A perspective from the U.S. South. International Journal of Leadership in Education 13(1), 63-76. (Invited contribution to special, themed issue on “disrupting notions of leadership from feminist postcolonial positions.”)
Asher, N. (2009). Writing home/Decolonizing text(s). Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 30(1), 1-13.
Asher, N. (2009). Considering curriculum questions and the public good in the postcolonial, global, twenty-first century context. Curriculum Inquiry, 39(1), 193-204. (Invited contribution to special issue reviewing the SAGE handbook of curriculum and instruction.)
Asher, N. (2008). Listening to hyphenated Americans: Hybrid identities of youth from immigrant families. Theory into Practice, 47(1), 12-19. (Invited contribution to special, themed issue on “immigrant families and U.S. schools.”)
Asher, N. (2007). Made in the (multicultural) U.S.A.: Unpacking tensions of race, culture, gender, and sexuality in education. Educational Researcher 36(2), 65-73.
Asher, N. (2005). At the interstices: Engaging postcolonial and feminist perspectives for a multicultural education pedagogy in the South. Teachers College Record, 107(5), 1079-1106.
Asher, N. (2003). Engaging difference: Towards a pedagogy of interbeing. Teaching Education, 14(3), 235-247.
Asher, N. (2002). (En)gendering a hybrid consciousness. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 18(4), 81-92.
Asher, N. (2002). Straight talk in the classroom: Discussing lesbian and gay issues in school. Theory and Research in Social Education, 30(2), 313-319. (Invited contribution to special, themed issue on “social education and sexual identity.”)
Asher, N. (2001). Beyond “cool” and “hip:” Engaging the question of research and writing as academic Self—woman of color Other. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education (QSE), 14(1), 1-12.
Asher, N., & Crocco, M. S. (2001). (En)gendering multicultural identities and representations in education. Theory and Research in Social Education, 29(1), 129-151.