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Dr Emma Williams

Job Title
Associate Professor
Education Studies
Research Interests

Philosophical issues of education; critical thinking; mental health education; the value of the humanities (literature and philosophy in education); political education and education for democracy; philosophical 'methods'; literary criticism and ways of reading; philosophical and literary approaches to education research; phenomenology, post-structuralism, ordinary language philosophy, philosophy of the ordinary.


I joined the Education Studies Department in Warwick in 2015. My work is in Philosophy of education. I came to this field as a result of my previous studies in Philosophy and Continental Philosophy and my work as a philosophy teacher (and Philosopher-in-Residence). A distinctive feature of my research and teaching about education is that I work between different philosophical traditions, and explore the productive tensions between these traditions. My work also takes seriously questions of philosophy's relation to neighbouring subjects such as literature and psychoanalysis. At Warwick, I founded the interdisciplinary module in 'Philosophy in Education' (co-taught with Karen Simecek, Philosophy), and the module 'Introduction to Philosophy of Education.' I am Director of Research Impact and the Ethics Coordinator for the Education Studies department.


I am currently working on a 2-year project on 'Mental Health, Education and Therapeutic Philosophy' funded by a Small Grant from the British Academy and Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain. I am also a member of a project on 'Political Education for Living with the Other', which involves collaboration with philosophers and educational researchers in Japan, France and Finland. In addition to this, I am working on a monograph provisionally entitled 'J.M. Coetzee and the Fiction of Education.' My current research builds on my work on 'Philosophy, Literature and Education' (Seminar-Series funded by a grant from the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain); 'Writers and their Education'; and my first monograph 'The Ways We Think: From the Straits of Reason to the Possibilities of Thought' (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015).

I am Interim Co-Editor of the Journal of Philosophy of Education, and Chair of the Large Grants Committee for the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain. At Warwick, I am a member of the Centre for Research in Post-Kantian Continental Philosophy and of the Faculty of Social Sciences Impact Acceleration Account Committee.


I am the host of the podcast series 'Disquieted Life.' I talk to leading thinkers from the worlds of philosophy, literature and the arts about mental health, and how different thinkers and writers have approached and challenged the topic. Episodes are freely available on a variety of podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts.

At Warwick, I run the annual 'Thinking Philosophically' workshop, which is open to A Level students in the local area. The workshop is co-designed with undergraduate students from the departments of philosophy and education studies. If you are a school interested in being involved in the workshop please get in touch via email.


Milena Cuccurullo: 'Questioning managerial rationality in education. A project of Hermeneutic Philosophy.'

Yoonji Kang. 'Rethinking Educational Justice: Exceeding Rawls with Cavell?'

Sojin Lee (Funded by Warwick International Chancellor's Scholarship): 'Global citizenship education and its reception in South Korea.'

Malcolm MacQueen (Funded by ESRC Doctoral Grant) (Co-Supervised with Ana Chamberlin, Sociology). 'Philosophy in Prison: Critical Pedagogy and Marginal Standpoints.'

I would welcome applications from doctoral students in philosophy of education.


I received my BA (1st Class) in Philosophy and MA (with Distinction) in Continental Philosophy from the Univeristy of Warwick. For my MRes and PhD in Philosophy of Education I was at the UCL Institute of Education. My project was funded by a doctoral studentship from the Economic and Social Research Council.

Title Funder Award start Award end
The role of Philosophy in promoting wider understanding of mental health in schools: a pilot study British Academy 03 Mar 2020 31 Dec 2022