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Dr James Burford

Job Title
Associate Professor
Education Studies
Web Link
Research Interests

Higher Education, Critical University Studies, doctoral education, researcher development, doctoral writing; feminist and queer theory; academic mobilities, conferences, academic migration; sexuality education, LGBTQ+ issues in education, gender; qualitative research; Thailand.


Dr James Burford joined the Department of Education Studies in 2021 following academic posts at La Trobe University in Australia and Thammasat University in Thailand. James' research and teaching is located in the fields of International Higher Education and Critical University Studies. He has researched and published in a wide range of areas, including researcher development and doctoral education, academic subjectivities, educational im/mobilities, the global politics of knowledge production and sexuality and gender in education. James is course leader for the MA programme 'Global Education and International Development'. James is a P?keh? New Zealander living in the UK.


James has been involved in a range of international research projects

Projects relating to doctoral education and the academic profession:

(i) Distance Doctorates Project. 2022-present. Co-Investigator (with Dr Katrina McChesney, University of Waikato; Dr Tseen Khoo, La Trobe University; Professor Liezel Frick, Stellenbosch University.
(ii) 'Searching for a supervisor' . 2022-2023. Principal Investigator (with Dr Emily Henderson). Funded by Research England Research Culture Fund.
(iii) 'Opening the Black Box of Pre-Application Doctoral Communications' . 2022. Principal Investigator (with Dr Emily Henderson). Funded by Research England Research Culture Fund.
(iv) 'Be(com)ing aa-jaan dtàang châat': Figuring migrant academics in the Thai higher education system' . 2017-2018. Principal Investigator (with Thornchanok Uerpairojkit). Funded by Thammasat University.
(iv) 'Cultural history of the International Academic Identities Conference' . 2016-2019. International Research Fellow (with Tai Peseta as PI). Funded by Hiroshima University.
Projects relating to gender and sexualities in education:
(i) The experiences of discrimination and economic exclusion of LGBTI people in Thailand**. 2016-2017. Co-Investigator (with Dr Adisorn Juntrasook as PI). Funded by the World Bank.
(ii) Review of Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Thailand . 2015-2016. Consultant. Funded by UNICEF Thailand and Thai Ministry of Education.
(iii) Educating for Diversity: An informative evaluation of the Rainbow Youth sexuality and gender diversity workshops . 2012. Principal Investigator (with Dr Mathijs Lucassen). Funded by Rainbow Youth.
James serves on the IDERN International Doctoral Education Research Network steering committee, and is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education.
Since 2014, James has published over thirty peer-reviewed articles and more than twenty chapters in edited books (for full details of his publications, see the link above). With Cecile Badenhorst and Brittany Amell, James is co-editor of Re-Imagining Doctoral Writing (WAC & University of Colorado Press, 2021). He has also co-edited with Emily Henderson a special issue of Gender and Education, 'Thoughtful gatherings: gendering conferences as spaces of learning, knowledge production and community'. Since 2017, James has co-edited the academic blog 'Conference Inference'.
James holds a BA in Political Science from Canterbury University, a Master of Development Studies degree from Victoria University of Wellington (VUW-funded), and a PhD in Education from the University of Auckland (UoA-funded). In 2017 James received the NZARE Sutton-Smith award for his doctoral research.
Doctoral Supervision
James is interested in hearing from potential doctoral candidates interested in undertaking research in the areas of: doctoral education and the academic profession, academic mobilities, higher education internationalisation, gender and sexuality in education and higher education in Thailand and Southeast Asia more broadly. He is primarily interested in supervising qualitative projects, and welcomes inquiries from those interested in queer, feminist, decolonial, and poststructural theorisations of higher education. Please get in touch via email to discuss developing a proposal for a 2024 start (or later)
James has supervised the following students to completion:
Sarah Houseman (La Trobe): Emerging Ecologies of Organisation: Renewing Governance in the Anthropocene, PhD full-time, co-supervised with Ben Habib and Katharine McKinnon.
James is currently supervising the following PhD students:
Milena Cuccurullo: Understanding 'accountability' in UK higher education policy (1990-2020): A philosophical appraisal, PhD part-time, co-supervised with Emma Williams
Fatima Alhaj Hasan: Conflict in Syrian Higher Education, PhD full-time, Emily Henderson as co-supervisor
Yibin Lin: A philosophical appraisal of transferability in transferable skills, PhD full-time, co-supervised with Emma Williams.
Funded by CSC Scholarship.
Haoxi Ou: Chinese sexual and gender minority international students in the UK: The desire for transnational mobility, PhD full-time, Cath Lambert as co-supervisor
Evan Zheng: International mobility as a collective effort: The study abroad market in China and its influence on international students' mobility learning and mobility decisions, PhD full-time, Emily Henderson as co-supervisor.
Funded by CIS Scholarship.
Rui Zhang: Chinese Visiting Scholars' Professional Development: Exploring the Impact of Short-Term Academic Mobility Experiences, PhD full-time, Emily Henderson as co-supervisor.
Chen Zhe: A Longitudinal Investigation Unveiling Acculturation Experiences of Chinese International Students in the UK Higher Education, PhD full-time, Co-supervised with Georgiana Mihut.****