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Susan Laird

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Susan Laird

Susan Laird Headshot - 2018

Department: Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Program Area: Educational Studies
Office:736 Elm Ave., #27


Ph.D., Education, Cornell University
M.A., Teaching English, Cornell University
A.B., English, Vassar College


Susan Laird became Value Theorist in Residence with the Center for Leadership Ethics and Change upon her retirement from the University of Oklahoma faculty in 2018. With research and teaching specialties in both educational theory and feminist theory, she authored Mary Wollstonecraft: Philosophical Mother of Coeducation (Continuum, 2008; Bloomsbury, 2014) and since 1988 has published conceptual and textual inquiry in numerous journal articles and book chapters.

This topically varied work claims a central coeducational purpose significant for both policy and practice: To rethink the meaning of teaching within contexts of childrearing at home, at school, and in after-school settings. Laird has proposed that such teaching must aim explicitly for young people’s learning to live well in the face of violence and injustice, in the Anthropocene. That is, for their learning to love themselves and diverse others (both human and non-human), to survive, and to thrive despite their many troubles, including their mothers’ absence. To that moral end, drawing upon arts and aesthetics as well as her past leadership experience with Girl Scouting for local teens in severe poverty (1999-2006), she theorizes a deliberate micro-political, educational life-practice of befriending young people with one another and with the non-human earth-world. Through collaborative community engagement, she is now focusing that inquiry on understanding, critiquing, and re-imagining school lunch as curriculum in ethical culture, as public education’s pedagogically potent ritual core.

Founding faculty adviser of the Oklahoma Educational Studies Association (2002-2018), Laird is past president of the American Educational Studies Association (“School Lunch Matters: Encountering the New Jim Crow and the Anthropocene,” 2017), Society of Philosophy and History of Education (“Getting a Concept of Coeducation,” 2013), and Philosophy of Education Society (“Food for Coeducational Thought,” 2007). With Susan Douglas Franzosa, Lucy Forsyth Townsend, and Julie Michelle Davis, she founded the Society for Educating Women (2006) and its online journal Educating Women (2010).

Publications in 2017-2018:
Susan Laird, “Learning to Live in the Anthropocene: Our Children and Ourselves,” Studies in Philosophy and Education (2017)36: 265-282.

Susan Laird, “School Lunch Matters: Encountering the New Jim Crow and the Anthropocene,” Educational Studies 54(2018):1, 17-33.

Susan Laird, “Alice Waters and the Edible Schoolyard: Rethinking School Lunch as Public Education,” chapter 2 in Educational Dimensions of School Lunch: Critical Perspectives, eds. Suzanne Rice and A.G. Rud (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), pp. 11-33.

Susan Laird, “On Monarchist Miseducation and Republican Coeducation: Wollstonecraft’s Educational Works,” in The Wollstonecraftian Mind, eds. Sandrine Berges, Eileen Hunt Botting, Alan Coffee (Routledge, in press).

Johnnie-Margaret McConnell and Susan Laird, “Nourishing the Musically Hungry: Learning from Undergraduate Amateur Musicking,” in Humane Music Education for the Common Good, eds. Estelle R. Jorgensen and Iris M. Yob (Indiana University Press, in press).

Susan Laird, “Starving to Death: Reproductive Labor and Ecological-Political Learning,” in Philosophy of Education 2017, ed. Ann Chinnery (Philosophy of Education Society, in press).

Jacqueline Goldman, Benjamin C. Heddy, and Susan Laird, “An Interdisciplinary Discourse between Dewey and Self-Determination Theory: Motivation in the Wake of Monetizing Education,” Education and Culture, in press.