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Dr James Burford

Job Title
Assistant 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 as Assistant Professor Global Education and International Development. He joins the university following posts at La Trobe University in Australia and Thammasat University in Thailand, and an international research fellowship at the Research Institute for Higher Education in Hiroshima. James' research and teaching is located in the fields of global and higher education. He has researched and published in a wide range of areas, including researcher development and doctoral education, academic subjectivities, educational 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 Pakeha and calls Aotearoa New Zealand home.


James has been involved in a range of international research projects. In 2012 James was PI on a Rainbow Youth project which investigated the impact of community-led diversity education in promoting positive behaviour for learning in New Zealand schools. From 2015-2016 he was a consultant on a UNICEF and Thai Ministry of Education funded project, which investigated the implementation of Thailand's comprehensive sexuality education curriculum. From 2016-2017 he was Co-I in a World Bank-funded project which investigated the experiences of discrimination and economic exclusion of LGBTI people in Thailand. From 2016-2019 he was an International Research Fellow working on a Hiroshima University-funded project which undertook a cultural history of the International Academic Identities Conference. From 2017-2018 he led a project which investigated the experiences of migrant academics working in the Thai higher education system. James is co-convenor of AMIN - Academic Mobilities and Immobilities Network, serves on the IDERN International Doctoral Education Research Network steering committee, and is an Associate Editor for HERD (Higher Education Research and Development).


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.

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: The Transferable Skills Acquisition of Chinese Humanities Doctoral Students in the UK, PhD full-time, co-supervised with Emily Henderson.

Haoxi Ou: Interrogating bullying discourse and its impact on LGBTI students in Chinese secondary schools: Exploring the retrospective narratives of LGBTI young adults, PhD full-time, Cath Lambert as co-supervisor