Karsten Kenklies


  • United Kingdom

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Personal profile

Personal Statement

I joined the Institute of Education in April 2016 from Jena University, Germany, where I was a Junior-Professor, holding the Chair for Comparative Education in the Institute for Bildung and Kultur. I worked for nearly thirteen years in Jena and (among other things) delivered History and Philosophy of Education undergraduate and postgraduate teaching there. Very much rooted in the tradition of a Hermeneutic Pedagogy, my research endeavours to unveil the systematic structures of theories and practices of education through their contextualisation (especially within the History of Ideas, Science, Philosophy and Art) and through diachronic (i.e. historical) and synchronic (i.e. intercultural) comparisons in a national and international (especially Japanese) perspective. Besides this – and linked to it by a methodological perspective framed by the notion of recognition – I am very much interested in developing a theory of Queer Education based upon modern theories of social philosophy and Queer Theory.

At the Institute of Education, I am involved in a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in Education Studies, especially in the History of Education & Systematic/ General Pedagogy, Foundations of Educational Theory, and Contemporary Challenges for Educational Theory and Practice. I am a co-convener of the research group "Education, Philosophy and Culture". Besides supervising a number of PhD projects, I act as programme leader for the full-time master course MSc Education Studies and represented the department in the Board of Studies of the faculty.

Research Interests

My research is predominantly systematic-conceptual-comparative. Based on the comparison between European, (East-) Asian and North American theories and practices of education, I attempt to introduce a culturally sensitive theory of education. Especially discussions around a German notion of Bildung, American Transcendentalism and educational practices prevalent in traditional Japanese arts are used as foundation for developing a general theory of education.

Based upon research I did supported by a research fellowship that took me to Japan for 6 months (preceded and followed by regular visits), I am currently working on a series of papers that analyse theories and practices of education in pre-modern Japan to connect those ideas to modern continental concepts of Bildung and Anglo-Saxon ideas of self-formation.

As part of the research group 'Education, Philosophy and Culture' at the Institute of Education at Strathclyde University, I am involved in a variety of different projects: publications, research projects, conferences, etc. In addition, I am co-founder of ExET - Experiments in Education Theory (www.exet.org) - a group of researchers that embraces a purely conceptual approach to education research and that is part of a larger international network of researchers who promote systematic-conceptual research into education across different countries and continents.

Expertise & Capabilities

As part of my work, I supervise a number of Master and PhD students in different fields of conceptual or historical research. Those fields include e.g.

  • LGBT issues in educational theory
  • Intercultural comparison in educational theory
  • Japanese education
  • Martial Arts education
  • Hermeneutic Pedagogy
  • Pedagogical anthropology
  • Aesthetics & educational theory

I invite those who might be interested to work in one of those (or related) fields, to get in touch with me so that we can start to reflect upon a dissertation or any other kind of project. It would be good if a first contact would already include a short draft expose which answers the following questions:

  1. What is the one(!) question your dissertation/ project attempts to answer, and which smaller questions do you think will lead up to an answer of the final big question?
  2. What method would you like to use to find an answer to your question?
  3. What material would you plan to use to answer your question?
  4. What limitations do you think will your answer to your question inevitably have?

Based upon your answers to those questions, we can start to think about the possibility of a supervision or support for any sort of project.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Master in Science

Master of Education

Master of Philosophy

Master of Arts

Doctor of Philosophy

External positions

Member of the International Board, College for Global Education, University of Jena

External Dr.phil. Examiner, Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena

External Dr.phil. Examiner, Karlsruhe University of Education


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