Personal profile

Personal Statement

Navan N. Govender (SFHEA) is a Lecturer in Applied Language and Literacy Studies at the School of Education, University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, United Kingdom).

I am fundamentally interested in the role of texts in mediating relationships of power in English language, literacy, and literary education. This includes how texts are produced, used, circulated, and redesigned in and beyond contexts of teaching and learning. This involves working within the multidisciplinary field of critical literacies which understands that language (and sign systems more broadly), literacy (and meaning-making more broadly), power, identity, and social justice are intrinsic to the wholistic cognitive, social, and ethical development of young people and adults. It also understands that language and literacy education is bound to ideology (value-systems), and is therefore also a site for social and political action toward socially just futures.

My scholar-activist work in qualitative research and pedagogy therefore draws explicitly on the fields of critical applied linguistics, literacy studies, multimodal critical discourse analysis, queer/trans/feminist praxis, decolonial and anti-racist praxis as they pertain to teaching and learning in English education. At the interface of critical, queer, and decolonial theory and practice, I seek to explore conditions for (re)imagining more socially just practice in curriculum design, pedagogy, and assessment with (student) teachers and teacher educators. While I focus on (a)gender and (a)sexual diversity, anti-racism, and decoloniality in language and literacy education, I explore these as inherently entangled with a broad range of other social categories.

Currently, I work on two main projects that are located in and beyond Scotland:

  1. Queer Critical Literacies
  2. Critical Literacies & the Decolonial Turn: A Longitudinal Study in Higher/Teacher Education

Specific fields of study include: (queer) critical literacies; multimodality; critical applied linguistics; (a)gender & (a)sexual diversity; multimodal critical discourse analysis; social semiotics; and social justice education. 

Further interests include: place-based pedagogies, creative methods, and intersectionality.

At Strathclyde, I teach on the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) programme, offering classes in critical literacies and multimodalities as well as a range of English methodology classes for secondary schooling educators. At Masters level, I also offer classes on research and teaching using multimodal critical discourse analysis, textual analysis, queer and decolonial methodologies, and (auto)ethnography. Within the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, I sit on the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Committee. I also work closely with Strathclyde’s Student Union to support the development of queer and trans-inclusive and decolonial and anti-racist spaces and practices.  

Beyond Strathclyde, I am the elected Vice President of the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA)  a co-convener of the Critical Literacy Special Interest Group (SIG)UKLA Regional Representative for West Scotland, and co-convener of the UKLA’s Publicity & Communications Committee

Recently, my colleagues (from a range of universities across the United States, New Zealand, and the UK) and I were appointed as co-editors of The Reading Teacher Journal (a Wiley publication for the International Literacy Association). 

I hold a Bachelor of Education degree (specialising in English Education in secondary and further education & training contexts), a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Applied English Language Studies, and a PhD in Applied Language & Literacy Education. My PhD investigated how critical literacy could be used to engage student teachers with issues related to (a)gender & (a)sexual  diversity in South Africa.

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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Negotiating the Gendered Representations of Sexualities through Critical Literacy, University of the Witwatersrand

Jan 20138 Dec 2015

Award Date: 8 Dec 2015

Bachelor of Arts, Critical Literacy: Do Textbooks Practise What They Preach?, University of the Witwatersrand

Jan 2010Jun 2011

Award Date: 22 Jun 2011

Bachelor of Education, Critical Literacy in the English Classroom, University of the Witwatersrand

Jan 2005Dec 2009

Award Date: 26 May 2010

External positions

Journal Co-Editor, The Reading Teacher journal

1 Aug 2023 → …

UKLA Regional Representative: West Scotland, United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA)

Jul 2020 → …

UKLA Critical Literacy Special Interest Group Co-convener, United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA)

2020 → …


  • critical literacy
  • critical applied linguistics
  • critical discourse analysis
  • social justice
  • discourse
  • power
  • multimodality
  • queer critical literacies
  • decoloniality
  • praxis
  • social semiotics


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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