In my research, I work on the new geopolitics of higher education and the effects of globalization on education policy.
I research higher education around the globe and have particular expertise in the study of Central Asia and the former Soviet space. I am fluent in Russian. I draw from an array of theories, frameworks and qualitative methods that enable me to take a critical approach to the study of knowledge politics, processes of globalization, and power. I strive to increase diversity in scholarship by using my position to increase the range and volume of voices that are heard.
The new geopolitics of higher education
Geopolitical shifts during the late twentieth century – the end of World War Two, decolonization, China’s process of opening up, and the fall of the Soviet Union – triggered waves of remarkable growth in the scale and scope of international cooperation in higher education and science. As the twenty-first century progresses, a new series of geopolitical shifts has emerged. These are characterized by weaknesses in global governance, growing political populism and authoritarianism, and the swinging balance of power towards China and Asia. The high level of global uncertainty and instability has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.
I term the combination of these recent geopolitical shifts and COVID-19 the new geopolitics of higher education. In this new area of research, I seek to establish this as a new domain of knowledge. I am currently focussing on the impact of the new geopolitics for international research collaborations in terms of how they are funded, governed and experienced by researchers. I am also studying the differential effects of the new geopolitics and the implications for power dynamics between countries.
As contemporary globalization processes continue to intensify, education policies are increasingly being transferred around the world, often with little regard to their suitability to the setting that is ‘borrowing’ the policy. I am particularly interested in researching the effects of globalization on education policy transfer in the former Soviet Union.
In my extensive engagement with the region, in particular through my practitioner and later academic work with and on Central Asia, I have discovered that policies in the former Soviet space increasingly draw from external knowledge traditions and norms. Given the significant legacies of the Soviet period that continue to permeate these societies, the study of their adaptation to imported education policies provides a unique window into contemporary globalization processes.