Acrobats, phantoms, and fools: animating comparative education cartographies

Iveta Silova, Euan Auld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Acrobats, phantoms, and fools. Such experiences often stem from our attempts to ‘fit’ into the official cartography of Comparative Education, which reflects a particular reading of the formation of knowledge and knowing subjects in the field. Rather than viewing cartographies as universal, we reframe them as embodied and embedded. Combining reflections on our own intellectual journeys in Comparative Education with those of other scholars and fictive characters, we move across time and space to develop a collective biography that explores our interwoven positionalities. We begin by outlining both the parallel lines along which our biographies have unfolded and their various points of intersection. We then present a series of generic scholarly experiences that shape our collective biographies and the field’s boundaries. Our own recollections are entangled with experiences and voices of ‘Others’ who did not appear at the time or perhpahs were present but remained beyond out horizon. Animating our-selves by entering into these relationships with ‘Others’ enables us to reclaim pluraity in the very structure of the field’s cartography and our own biographies. This in turn provokes reflection on the implications for doing comparative education, especially in relation to encountering ‘otherness’ or ‘foreignness’. In closing, we suggest that embracing the contradictory vistas opened by such entanglements can help enhance the field’s mobility, as well as our own.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-38
Number of pages19
JournalComparative Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020


  • Collective biography
  • comparative education
  • decolonial theory
  • intellectual cartography
  • memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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