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Curriculum, Teaching  & Learning
Fikile Nxumalo

Fikile Nxumalo
Assistant Professor

phone: 416-978-6216

Department: Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

Research Overview

My scholarship focuses on reconceptualizing and resituating place-based and environmental education within current times of ecological precarity. I am interested in curricular and pedagogical possibilities for disrupting anti-black and settler colonial educational frames that erase and/or enact deficit constructions of Black and Indigenous (and their intersections) childhoods, knowledges and place relations.

I am particularly interested in working with students with an interest in one or more of: Indigenous feminisms and knowledges, Black feminisms, Black and Indigenous geographies, and interrogations of anti-blackness and colonialisms in education. I am also interested in working with students who are interested in place-based education, climate change education and environmental education in early childhood and beyond, particularly in relationship with climate justice, settler colonialism, and anti-blackness. I would also like to work with students with an interest in working with pedagogical documentation as a research methodology, critical teaching resource, and support for inquiry-based curriculum.

Academic History

Ph.D. (May 2015) Early Childhood Education, University of Victoria, BC
M.Sc. Simon Fraser University, BC
B.Sc. Hon. Trent University, ON

Teaching Overview

CTL7009: Anti-Discriminatory Education
CTL5050: Decolonial & Anti-Racist Environmental Education
CTL5055: Centering Blackness in Education Research
CTL1000: Foundations of Curriculum & Pedagogy

Postmodern Analytical Methods (Graduate, Cross-listed with Women & Gender Studies & Native American & Indigenous Studies (NAIS)
Environmental Education for Young Children (Graduate, Cross-listed with NAIS)
Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (Graduate)
Early Childhood Education Programs (Graduate)
Early Childhood Education Programs (Undergraduate)
Early Childhood Education Program Development (Undergraduate)

Race and Racialization in Early Childhood Education (Undergraduate)
Child Growth and Development (Undergraduate)
Inclusive Practices in Early Childhood Education (Undergraduate)
Applied Theory: Advanced Early Childhood Education Practicum (field supervisor)
Inclusive Practice: Advanced Early Childhood Education Practicum (field supervisor)

Issues of Assessment & Evaluation with Children and Families (Undergraduate)
Leadership, Advocacy & Policy for the Early Years (Undergraduate)
Practices for Young Children & Families: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (Undergraduate)
Child and Adolescent Development in Context (Graduate - co-Instructor)

Representative Publications

Nxumalo, F., Odim, N, & Smith, A. (2021). Black geographies in early childhood studies. In Yelland, N.J., Peters, L., Fairchild, N., Tesar, M., & Perez, M. (Eds.). The SAGE handbook of global childhoods.  SAGE. 
Nxumalo, F. & Gitari, W. ( 2021). Introduction to the Special Theme on responding to anti-Blackness in Science, Mathematics, Technology and STEM Education. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 21(2), 226-231 
Nxumalo, F. (2021). Centering place in early childhood literacies: Thinking with Black geographies. Research in the Teaching of English. 56(1), 109-111. 
Nxumalo, F. (2021). Decolonial water pedagogies: Invitations to Black, Indigenous and Black-Indigenous world making. Bank Street Occasional Paper Series, 45, 1-12.
Nxumalo, F., Gargliadi L-M. & Won, H.R, (2020) Inquiry-based curriculum in early childhood education. In M. F. He &. W. Schubert (Eds), Oxford research encyclopedia of education. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Nxumalo, F., Diaz-Diaz, C., Semenec, P. (2020). Interview with Fikile Nxumalo, In C. Diaz-Diaz and P. Semenec (Eds.), Posthumanist and new materialist methodologies (pp. 195-203). New York: Springer.
Nxumalo, F., Cook, C., Rubin, J.C., Hendrix Soto, A.E., Cedillo, S. , & Scott, M.R. (2020). Staying with the trouble: grapplings with the more-than-human in a qualitative inquiry course. Qualitative Inquiry. 26(1), 24–35.
Nxumalo, F. & Berg, L. (2020). Conversations on climate change pedagogies in a Central Texas kindergarten classroom. In J A. Henderson & A. Drewes (Eds), Teaching climate change in the United States (pp. 44-57). New York: Routledge. 
Nxumalo, F. & Villaneuva, M. (2019). (Re)storying water: Decolonial pedagogies of relational affect with young children. International Journal of Early Childhood Environmental Education. 
Nxumalo, F. & ross, k.m. (2019). Envisioning Black space in environmental education for young children. Race, Ethnicity & Education, 22(4,)502-524. 
Nxumalo, F. (2019). Decolonizing place in early childhood education. New York: Routledge. 
Nxumalo, F. & Brown, C.P. (Eds.) (2019). Disrupting and countering deficits in early childhood education. New York: Routledge.
Nxumalo, F. & Adair, J.K. (2019). Social justice and equity in early childhood education. In C.P. Brown, M. McMullen, & N. File (Eds.), Handbook of Early Childhood Care and Education. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley Blackwell Publishing. pp. 661-682. 
Nxumalo, F. (2019). Resisting racial capitalist formations in early childhood education. In F. Nxumalo & C.P. Brown (Eds.). Disrupting and countering deficits in early childhood education. New York: Routledge Education.
Nxumalo, F. (2019). Presencing: Decolonial attunements to children’s place relations. In. D. Hodgins (Ed.). Feminist Research for 21st-Century Childhoods: Common Worlds Methods. London: Bloomsbury.
Nxumalo, F. (2018). Situating Indigenous and Black childhoods in the Anthropocene. In A. Cutter-Mackenzie, K. Malone, & E. Barratt Hacking, (Eds) International Research Handbook on ChildhoodNature: Assemblages of Childhood and Nature Research. New York: Springer. pp. 1-22. DOI:
Nxumalo, F. & Rubin, J.C. (2018). Encountering waste landscapes: more-than-human place literacies in early childhood education. In C.R. Kuby, K. Spector & J. Johnson Thiel (Eds.), Posthumanism and Literacy Education: Knowing/Being/Doing Literacies (pp. 201-213). New York: Routledge.
Nxumalo, F., Delgado, C., & Nelson, N. (2018). Pedagogical gatherings in early childhood education: Mapping interferences in emergent curriculum. Curriculum Inquiry, 48(4), 433-453.
Nxumalo, F. (2018). Stories for living on a damaged planet: Environmental education in a preschool classroom. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 16(2), 148–159.
Nxumalo, F. & Cedillo, S. (2017). Decolonizing ‘place’ in early childhood studies: Thinking with Indigenous onto-epistemologies and Black feminist geographies. Global Studies of Childhood, 7(2), 99-112.
Nxumalo, F. (2017). Geotheorizing mountain-child relations within anthropogenic inheritances. Children’s Geographies, 15(5), 558-569.
Nxumalo, F. (2016). Storying practices of witnessing: Refiguring quality in everyday pedagogical encounters. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 17(1) 39-53.
Nxumalo, F. (2016). Towards ‘refiguring presences’ as an anti-colonial orientation to research in early childhood studies.  International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 29(5), 640-654. 
Nxumalo, F. (2016). Touching place in childhood studies: Situated encounters with a community garden. In H.Skott-Myhre, V. Pacini-Ketchabaw, & K. Skott-Myhre (Eds.), Youth work, early education, and psychology: Liminal encounters (pp. 131-158). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Nxumalo, F. (2015). Forest stories:  Restorying encounters with ‘natural’ places in early childhood education. In V. Pacini-Ketchabaw, & A. Taylor (Eds), Unsettling the colonial places and spaces of early childhood education (pp. 21-42). New York: Routledge.
Pacini-Ketchabaw, V. & Nxumalo, F.  (2015). Nature/culture divides in a childcare centre. Environmental Humanities, 7, 151-168.
Pacini-Ketchabaw, V., Nxumalo, F., & Rowan, C. (2014). Researching neoliberal and neocolonial assemblages in early childhood education. International Review of Qualitative Research, 7(1), 39–57.
Pacini-Ketchabaw, V., Nxumalo, F., & Kocher, L.  et al. (2014).  Journeys: Reconceptualizing early childhood practices through pedagogical narration. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Nxumalo, F. (2012). Unsettling representational practices: Inhabiting relational becomings in early childhood education. Child & Youth Services Journal, 33(3-4), 281-302.
Nxumalo, F., Pacini-Ketchabaw, V., & Rowan, C. (2011). Lunch time at the child care centre: neoliberal assemblages in early childhood education. Journal of Pedagogy, 2(2),195-223.
Research Grants and Contracts

Principal Investigator: Climate Change Education in the Global South: Developing Climate Justice Pedagogies with Young Children in a rural eSwatini Community. SSHRC IDG [2020-2022]

Principal Investigator: Learning with Place: Exploring Environmental Justice with Marginalized Young Children. University of Toronto Connaught New Researcher Award. [2020-2022]

Co-applicant: Climate Action Network: Exploring Climate Change Pedagogies with Children. SSHRC Partnership Development Grant. 2017-2020].

Co-Principal Investigator: Texas Water Stories. Funded by UT Austin Planet Texas 2050, a UT Austin Bridging Barriers Research Initiative.

Honours and Awards

2019: Emerging Scholar Award: AERA Critical Perspectives on Early Childhood Education SIG.

2018-2019: Invited Fellow: Public Voices Thought Leadership; University of Texas at Austin Op-Ed Project.

2018: Dean's Fellowship: College of Education. The University of Texas at Austin.

2017-2018: Invited Fellow: Center for Women and Gender Studies; University of Texas at Austin.

2017: Dissertation Award: AERA Critical Perspectives on Early Childhood Education SIG. 2017.

2016: Summer Research Fellowship: University of Texas at Austin.

2012: UVic Centre for EC Research and Policy Award for Exemplary Research in Early Childhood.

Professional Activities

Centre for Early Childhood Education & Research, University of British Columbia

Childism Institute, Department of Childhood Studies, Rutgers University

AERA Critical Perspectives in Early Childhood Education SIG Advisory Board for Race and Equity.

Journal of Childhood Studies (Co-Editor in Chief)

Equity and Excellence in Education

Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood

Canadian Journal of Environmental Education

Feminist Thought in Childhood Research - Book Series

Matter: Journal of New Materialist Research (Scientific Committee)

Other Information

keynote (2021, September). Difference in early childhood education: Thinking with Indigenous epistemologies and Black feminisms Invited keynote: International Conference on Teaching and Differences in Early Childhood Education, Hosted by University of Campinas, Brazil. [virtual]

keynote (2021, June). Anti-colonial place pedagogies for anthropogenic times. National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) Sandra K Abell Institute. Hosted by: Humboldt State University. [virtual]

keynote (2021, April). Thinking with Black futurity in early childhood studies. Curriculum and Pedagogy for Uncertain Futures Virtual Symposium. Western University.

keynote panelist (2020, October). Pedagogies Inspiring Change. 17th Annual North American Association for Environmental Education Research Symposium (Virtual Symposium).

keynote panelist (2020, August). Critical theory, broadening participation, and westernized colonial science. Invited keynote panelist: Institute in Critical Quantitative, Computational, and Mixed-Methodologies (ICQCM) Inaugural Virtual Symposium

keynote (2019, December). 10th Annual New Materialisms Conference, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

keynote (2018, September). Pedagogies on a Damaged Planet Conference, University of Cape Town, South Africa.