Prerna Srigyan (she/her) is a social and cultural analyst specializing in studies of how people learn to learn and teach to teach in scientific, educational, and environmental settings. She is currently a doctoral researcher in sociocultural anthropology at the University of California, Irvine.
UCI Anthropology | Environmental Injustice (EiJ) Teaching Collective | Society for Cultural Anthropology (SCA) Contributing Editor | The Asthma Files | Transnational STS COVID19 Project | Spatial Stories Working Group
What modes of teaching and learning are needed for sustainable, humane, and just futures? What capacities and communities do we need to teach and learn? Srigyan's research and teaching focus on how learning and teaching shape how people think and what they do.
Currently, as a doctoral researcher in sociocultural anthropology, her dissertation project examines "next-generation" STEM education in the U.S., particularly the aspirations, subjectivities, and collectives that attempt to teach and learn science against the grain and outside the lines. She asks: How does pedagogy make science a way of knowing and doing? How can pedagogy make science in the public interest?
Her earlier research focused on the development and use of science in air pollution governance in Delhi, India. The research resulted in the book, Atmosphere of Collaboration: Air Pollution Science, Politics and Ecopreneurship in Delhi (Routledge 2021), co-authored with Rohit Negi. The research also contributed to The Asthma Files, a transnational collaborative initiative to understand the cultural dimensions of environmental health.
Keywords: epistemic justice, knowledge formations, science pedagogy, transnational science, social movements, public science
How does STEM pedagogy become key to envisioning new societal futures?
My dissertation research examines how California’s educational and professional futures are being transformed by an array of programs and policies that refocus STEM pedagogy to meet the personal, community, and local needs of students and their environments. STEM educators today are advocating for innovative curricula that center students’ understandings of the world; hiring and training educators from underserved communities in STEM; and expanding STEM learning and teaching to out-of-school environments such as science centers, museums and community education. This study examines the array of ways K-12 STEM educators and administrators are enacting “next-generation” STEM pedagogy, working across state, non-profit, and corporate sectors.
By examining the pedagogical ideals, aspirations, subjectivities, tactics, and working environments of STEM educators, this project underscores the critical role of pedagogy and its practitioners in the production, reproduction and circulation of scientific knowledge.
What is at stake in next-generation STEM education?
California Department of Education draft plan to revise the K-12 Mathematics Framework to make social justice issues central to how math is taught in middle and high schools met with resistance from several fronts, including 600 scientists and educators who have signed an open letter asking it to be withdrawn. It further emphasizes integrated tracks in middle schools to close the racial achievement gap and progression along with acceleration. Critics of the plan argue that math education should not "woke", pointing instead to other industrialized nations, especially in East Asia, from where students outperform American students in math. Meanwhile, educators continue to state that STEM education cannot remain apolitical in the wake of pandemics and protests.