University of California, Riverside

Faculty Profile System

Leigh Patel

Leigh Patel


Graduate School of Education
2207 Sproul Hall
(951) 827-6018

Research Areas

Sociology of education, decolonial education, migration and education, critical race and intersectional theories, policy analysis, critical literacy, cultural constructions of adolescence


  • Ph. D., University of Nevada, Las Vegas 2001
  • M. Ed., University of San Diego 1994
  • BA, University of Nebraska-Lincoln 1992


Leigh Patel is an interdisciplinary researcher, educator, and writer.  Her work addresses the narratives that facilitate societal structures.With a background in sociology, she researches and teaches about education as a site of social reproduction and as a potential site for transformation. She works extensively with societally marginalized youth and teacher activists. Prior to working in the academy, Professor Patel was a journalist, a teacher, and a state-level policymaker. Across all of these experiences, her focus has been on the ways that education structures opportunities in society and the stories that are told about those opportunities. 

Professor Patel, also published under Lisa Patel Stevens, is the award-winning author of  Decolonizing Educational Research: From Ownership to Answerability  (Routledge)Youth Held at the Border: Immigration, Education and the Politics of Inclusion (Teachers College Press), co-author of Critical Literacy: Context, Research, and Praxis in the K-12 Classroom (Sage) and co-editor of ReConstructing the Adolescent: Sign, Symbol and Body (Peter Lang Publishers).   Professor Patel is highly sought after speaker and facilitator. She has authored dozens of scholarly articles and book chapters and has been a consistent voice in educational policymaking and policy analysis over a number of years. Her writing and research has also been featured in media outlets including Beacon Broadside, The Atlantic, The Feminist Wire, and HuffPost Live. She is receipient of the June Jordan Award for scholarly leadership and poetic bravery in social critique. She is a national board member of Education for Liberation, a long-standing organization dedicated to transformative education for and by youth of color. 

Professor Patel is currently working on her next book entitled, "To study is to struggle: Higher education and settler colonialism"

Awarded Grants

  • Patel, L. (Principal Investigator). (2017-2022). Study and struggle: The private and public pedagogies of social movements. President's discretionary grant awarded by The Spencer Foundation. 

Funded Projects

  • "Study and struggle: The internal and external politicla pedoagogies of social movements" Funded by the Spencer Foundation

Current Curriculum Vitae


  • Patel, L. (forthcoming). There is no study without struggle: Higher education and settler colonialism.
  • Patel, L. (2015). Decolonizing educational research: From ownership to answerability. Routledge: NY.
  • Patel, L. (2013). Youth held at the border: Immigration, education and the politics of inclusion. Teachers College Press: New York, NY.
  • Stevens, L. P., & Bean, T. W. (2007). Critical literacy: Context, research and practice in the K-12 classroom. New York: Sage.
  • Vadeboncoeur, J., & Stevens, L. P. (Eds). (2005). Reconstructing the ‘adolescent’: Sign, symbol, and body. New York: Peter Lang.

Refereed Articles
  • Patel, L., (2017). Walking the Tightrope of Visibility. Bank Street Occasional Paper Series 38. Retrieved from: 
  • Patel, L. (forthcoming). Uncollapsing categories in educational research.
  • *Sánchez, J.G., & Patel, L. (2017). Growing up tested: Teachers’ lived experiences of testing as students. Peabody Journal of Education, 440-444.
  • Patel, L. The ink of citizenship. (2017). Curriculum Inquiry, 47(1), 62-68. Patel, L, & *Price, A. (2016). The origins, potentials, and limits of racial justice. Critical Ethnic Studies, 2(2), 61-81. 
  • Patel, L. (2016). Pedagogies of resistance and survivance: Learning as marronage. Equity, Excellence & Education, 49(4), 397-401. 
  • Patel, L. (2016). The irrationality of white anti-racism. The English Journal. 106(2), 81-84.
  • Patel, L. (2016). Deservingness and governmentality in migration policy. The Association of Mexican American Educators’ Journal, 9(3), 11-21.
  • Patel, L. (2016). Reaching Beyond Democracy in Educational Policy Analysis. Educational Policy, 30(1), 114-127.
  • Patel, L. (2015). Desiring diversity and white settler backlash in higher education. The Urban Review. 47(4).
  • Patel, L. (2014). Anti-colonial educational research: From ownership to answerability. Educational Studies, 50(4), 357-377.
  • Patel, L. (2013). In loco emporium: Immigrant youth and educators in the morphing social contract of education. Children & Society, 27(4), 309-320.
  • Patel, L. (2012). Contact zones, problem zones, and critical consciousness. Pedagogies: An International Journal, 7(4), 333-346.
  • Stevens, L. P. (2011). Literacy, capital, and education: A view from immigrant youth. Theory into Practice, 50, 133-140.
  • Stevens, L. P. & lisahunter (2009). ReFraming phases in education: Science, reform and quality. Curriculum Perspectives, 24(1), 98-106.
  • Stevens, L. P. (2009). Maps to interrupt a pathology: Immigrant populations and education. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 6(1-2), 1-14.
  • Stevens, L. P. (2007). Para una alfabetización crítica en Australia. Cuadernos de Pedagogía, 374, 54-58.
  • Stevens, L. P., Hunter, L., Carrington, V., Pendergast, D., & Bahr, N. (2007). Reconfiguring “adolescence”: Ambiguous bodies in ambivalent settings. Australia Educational Research, 34(2), 107-127.
  • Stevens, L. P., & Mitchell, J. (2006). Anti-bias education through democratic discourse: Working between pedagogy and diversity in teacher education. Action in Teacher Education, 28(2), 15-24.
  • Dudley-Marling, C., Jackson, J. G., & Stevens, L. P. (2006). Educational reform: A disrespecting of childhood. Phi Delta Kappan, 87(10), 748.
  • Stevens, L. P. (2004). Early literacy policy: National and local instantiations. Current Issues in Language Planning, 5(1), 18-33.
  • Stevens, L. P. (2004). What’s so critical about critical literacy? Literate Futures and Education Views, 53, 15-16.
  • Stevens, L.P. (2003). Reading First: A critical policy analysis. The Reading Teacher, 56, 662-668. Mitchell, J., Kapitzke, C., Mayer, D., Carrington, V., Stevens, L. , Bahr, N., Pendergast, D., &
  • Hunter, L. (2003). Aligning school reform and teacher education in the Middle Years: an Australian case study. Teaching Education, 14(1), 69-82..
  • Stevens, L. P. (2002). Making the road by walking: Transitions from content area literacy to adolescent literacy. Reading Research and Instruction, 41(3), 267-278.
  • Bean, T. W.,& Stevens, L. P. (2002). Scaffolding reflection for preservice and inservice teachers. Reflective Practice, 3, (205-218).
  • Stevens, L. P. (2001). South Park and society: Curricular implications of popular culture in the classroom. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 44 (548-555).

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Graduate School of Education
1207 Sproul Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5234
Fax: (951) 827-3942


Last Modified: 3/13/18