I am a Lecturer in Education and Sociology in the School of Education and Sociology (EDSOC). I also recently joined the Citizenship, ‘Race’ and Belonging (CRaB) Research Network. My work sits at the crossroads of inclusive education, bilingual special education, justice and equity studies, culturally sustaining and trauma-informed pedagogies for disabled, migrant and refugee children, and teacher education.
My research focuses on increasing access to equitable education for students identified with disabilities and from migrant and forced migrant backgrounds in primary and secondary education. I have developed significant research and teaching expertise in providing differentiated instructions for students in Italy, the United Kingdom, Lebanon and the United States.
I use the Disability Critical Race Theory in Education (DisCrit) framework as an intersectional lens to examine inclusive policies and practices in education systems in Europe and the United States. My paper on color-evasiveness and the disablement of asylum-seeking children in Italy is an example of the first application of DisCrit outside of the US context. This work provides a window to explore how neoliberal reforms in education, combined with increasing immigration, are influencing education for those children who face exclusionary practices.
In research and teaching I commit to creating a meaningful, equitable, and inclusive learning experience for diverse communities. My stance towards teaching, research and service activities is liberatory.
In June 2017, I successfully completed the Ph.D (magna cum laude) in Theory and Research in Education at Roma Tre University. In the doctoral dissertation, I illustrated the increasing overrepresentation of asylum-seeking and refugee students in the macro-category of Special Educational Needs (SEN). I then connected these racial disproportionality trends in Special Educational Needs to the specific SEN policies and laws, introduced by the Italian government in 2012 in response to the increasing number of migrant students in mainstream classrooms.
From August 2017 until May 2018, I was a Fulbright Schuman Visiting Scholar in the Department of Special Education, at the University of Kansas. Under the supervision of Dr. Annamma, first author of DisCrit, I have worked as a PI on a qualitative research project exploring the benefits of applying the Dis/ability Critical Race Studies (DisCrit) in Education framework to inclusive policies and practices, to avoid macro- and micro- exclusions of students situated at the intersection of multiple differences. During my time at the University of Kansas, I taught an undergraduate course on classroom and behavior management for pre-service teachers, titled Motivating and Managing Learners in the Middle and Secondary Classrooms.
In September 2018, I joined the Department of Education at the University of Bologna as a post-doctoral researcher. I worked on an an Erasmus Plus-funded project, using video-analysis as tool to support Early Childhood practitioners in the co-construction of inclusive practices. The main methodological feature of this research was the involvement of ECEC educators and practitioners, policy makers and members of the community as co-researchers – working side by side with academics.
On November 1st 2019, I joined the School of Education and Sociology as a lecturer in Education and Sociology
The nucleus of my research agenda is problematizing, both in policy and practice, mainstream conceptualizations of inclusive education, which reproduce micro-exclusions of multiply-marginalized children in ‘Western’ nations, and new forms of colonization in ‘non-Western’ countries. In my research studies, I draw on the intersectional and interdisciplinary framework of Disability Critical Race Theory (DisCrit) in Education, Judith Butler’s notion of subjectivation and performative politics, raciolinguistics, and Foucault’s biopolitics to shed light on the color-evasive ideology of inclusive education, and to show how disability functions at the intersection of imperialism and racialized capital.
My first line of research includes (1) exploring how intersections of race, disability, migratory status, and language determine educational and social pathways of inclusion for asylum-seeking and refugee students.
My second line of research focuses on analyzing how DisCrit can contribute to understanding the outcomes of UK and US inclusive education policies and practice, with particular attention to the enabling and disabling processes that target multiply marginalized children.
My third line of research aims to shift teachers’ paradigms of inclusive education, through reframing classroom and behavior management, curriculum and instructions through DisCrit.
What ties these three lines of inquiry together is my commitment to educational equity and justice through an interdisciplinary research design and methodology. My next research project will extend on this prior work by pushing the analysis on teacher education and training to reconceptualize inclusive education through DisCrit. In particular, it will concentrate on the voices and learning experiences of disabled migrant and refugee children, while exploring the tensions between special education teachers and bilingual/general education teachers, as to which service these students should obtain.
I am currently the coordinator for the sociology module Equality or Liberation? Theorising Social Justice. I also teach on a variety of undergraduate modules in the areas of education and sociology in the School of Education and Sociology. I contribute also to the Philosophy and Practice of Educational Research module in the Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD).
I am happy to take calls and emails from the media on my research, and am aware of the need to respond to journalists in a timely manner. Please contact me directly at email@example.com or +44 2392845230.