Dr Ansgar Allen

Dr Ansgar Allen

Lecturer in Education
Director of MA in Globalising Education
Deputy Director of full-time MA Programme

Tel: (+44) (0)114 222 8085
Email: a.allen@Sheffield.ac.uk
Twitter: @AnsgarAllen



I teach across a range of programmes in the School of Education, in areas including history and philosophy of education, continental philosophy, educational and social theory, educational politics, childhood studies, academic writing and research methodology. I am responsible for the following modules:

EDU106 Histories of Education
EDU310 Philosophies of Education
EDUT6356 Critical Issues in Education and Educational Research
EDUT6084 Globalisation and Education

I welcome applications to study for doctoral research degrees, in particular from those wishing to undertake research in the areas of educational philosophy, history and theory.



Based on the idea that academic form restricts (and is often in ironic relation to) academic content, my writing experiments with style, ranging from more standard academic tropes, to the fictive and fragmentary. As well as the usual research outputs (peer-reviewed papers), I have written two monographs, co-written a textbook, and have published a range of book chapters, reviews, encyclopaedia entries, blogs, and media articles listed here. I have recently secured a contract to write an introduction to cynicism and Cynic philosophy for MIT Press.

Research interests include the role of ancient Cynicism as an ‘educational philosophy’, the function of contemporary cynicism in education, and the construction of the Western educated subject. My research traces the development of educational subjectivities, including the history of our commitment to the supposed inherent value of education and the importance of being ‘educated’. In my writing and teaching I study the unquestionable goods of education, remaining open to the possibility that education in all its forms (even where it appears most benign) is a form of violence. My work attempts a history of its good intentions.

My research has benefited from the support of a PESGB fellowship (2014) as well as a number of smaller research, conference and travel grants.



Editorial and professional roles:

Pedagogy, Culture and Society Editorial Board Member and Book Reviews Editor
Power and Education Editorial Board Member
PESGB Branch Secretary
PESGB Large Grants committee member (2016-)
Docent in Philosophy of Education, University of Helsinki
External Examiner, MA in Philosophy of Education, University of Winchester

In addition to the conference circuit (in the areas of education, utopian studies and literary theory), I have been invited to participate in discussion and speak in a range of academic and non-academic contexts, including the World Forum for Democracy (Strasbourg, France), the International Conference on Reimagining Schooling (Thessaloniki, Greece), the Society for the History of Children and Youth (London, Canada), the Qingshan Education Bureau (Wuhan, China), the German-British Association (Berlin, Germany), the European Network on Neoliberal Education Policy (York, UK), ESRI (Manchester, UK), the Social Theory Group (Manchester, UK), various PESGB seminars across the UK, and the Sheffield Education Collective.



Click here for Journal Articles


Allen, A. (2017) The Cynical Educator. Leicester: Mayfly.

Allen, A. & Goddard, R. (2017) Education and Philosophy: An Introduction. London: SAGE.

Allen, A. (2014) Benign Violence: Education in and beyond the Age of Reason. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.*

* Shortlisted for the 2015 ‘British Sociological Association Philip Abrams Memorial Prize’. “Highly Commended” in the 2014 ‘Society for Educational Studies Book Prize’. Widely reviewed, see here.


Allen, A (2017) ‘Awaiting Education: Friedrich Nietzsche on the Future of Our Educational Institutions’ Philosophical Inquiry in Education. 24 (2), 197-210.

Allen, A. (2016) ‘Education, Mastery and the Marquis de Sade’ Other Education, 5 (2), 39-55.

Allen, A. (2016) ‘Out of weakness: the ‘educational good’ in late antiquity’ Pedagogy, Culture & Society 24 (2), 239-254.

Allen, A. (2015) ‘The Cynical Educator‘ Other Education 4 (1), 4-15.

Allen, A. & Goddard, R. (2014) ‘The domestication of Foucault: government, critique, war’ History of the Human Sciences 27 (5), 26-53.

Allen, A. (2013) ‘The Examined Life: On the Formation of Souls and Schooling‘ American Educational Research Journal 50 (2), 216-250.

Allen, A. (2012) ‘Cultivating the myopic learner: the shared project of high and low-stakes assessment‘ British Journal of Sociology of Education 33 (5), 641-659.

Allen, A. (2012) ‘Life without the ‘x’ factor – meritocracy past and present’ Power and Education 4 (1), 4-19.

Allen, A. (2011) ‘Michael Young’s The Rise of the Meritocracy: a Philosophical Critique‘ British Journal of Educational Studies 59(4), 367-382.

Allen, A. (2011) ‘The idea of a world university: can Foucauldian research offer a vision of educational futures?’ Pedagogy, Culture & Society 19 (3) 367-383.

Allen, A. (2009) ‘The Foucauldian Peacekeeper: on the dispersion of power and the futility of change’ Power and Education 1 (2) 226-237.