Dr Karl Kitching

Dr Karl Kitching

School of Education
Reader in Education Policy
Director of Research in the School of Education

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Karl joined the School of Education, University of Birmingham in June 2020 as a Reader in Education Policy. Previously he was a Senior Lecturer in Education, and Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at University College Cork, Ireland.

His research and teaching focuses on challenging multiple inequalities in education, in childhood and in young people’s lives. His most recent publications include the book Childhood, Religion and School Injustice (Cork University Press, 2020). This book examines how children and parents negotiate secular-religious relations and inequalities across school contexts. He has published a range of internationally peer-reviewed articles on young people’s experiences of racism in school, race theory in education, the sexualisation of childhood, children’s religious identities at school, teacher motivation, and critical theory and pedagogy. Karl's first book was titled The Politics of Compulsive Education: Racism and Learner-Citizenship (Routledge 2014). This book explores how racism, education and resistance have been entangled in Ireland from the colonial to the global age, and offers new ways of thinking about anti-racism in education as a form of learner-citizenship.

He is currently PI on an Irish cross-institutional project focused on teaching for social justice in HE called Disciplines Inquiring into Societal Challenges (DISCs) 


  • PhD (Institute of Education, University of London)
  • MEd (St Patrick’s College of Education, Dublin City University)
  • BEd. (St Patrick’s College of Education, Dublin City University)


Postgraduate supervision

Racism and education policy and practice (schooling and HE)
Children's plural identities and experiences at school and beyond (sexualities, faiths, genders, ethnicities)
The politics of education policy and governance (school 'choice'; secular forms of educational governance; educational 'freedom')


Recent publications


Kitching, K 2020, Childhood, Religion and School Injustice. Cork University Press.

Kitching, K 2014, The Politics of Compulsive Education: Racism and Learner-Citizenship. Routledge Research in Education Policy and Politics, Routledge.


Kitching, K, Fernandez, E & Horgan, D 2021, 'Sweets are my 'best friend': belonging, bargains and body-shaming in working class girls' food and health relationships', Children's Geographies. https://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2021.1937522

Fernández, E, Kitching, K & Horgan, D 2021, 'Young girls’ experiences of ‘good’ food imperatives in a working class school community: rethinking food desire?', Cambridge Journal of Education, vol. 2021, pp. 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1080/0305764X.2021.1877618

Kiely, E, Ging, D, Kitching, K & Leane, M 2021, '“A source of anxiety like never before”: unpacking the Irish print media sexualisation of children discourse', Teanga: The Journal of the Irish Association for Applied Linguistics, vol. 12, no. 12, pp. 89-113. <https://journal.iraal.ie/index.php/teanga/article/view/500>

Kitching, K, Kiely, E, Ging, D & Leane, M 2020, 'Parents' encounters with 'the sexualisation of childhood': Paying attention differently?', Gender and Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540253.2020.1786011

Ging, D, Kiely, E, Kitching, K & Leane, M 2019, '#Slane Girl, beauty pageants and padded bras: flashpoints in the sexualisation of children debate in Irish media and political discourse', Feminist Media Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2018.1467943

Kitching, K 2018, 'What can beliefs do? Ethics education and authenticity after postmodernism', Educational Philosophy and Theory. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131857.2018.1461414

Kitching, K 2017, 'A thousand tiny pluralities: children becoming-other than the requirements of postsecular neoliberal policy recognition', Critical Studies in Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/17508487.2017.1381630

Kitching, K 2015, 'How the Irish became CRT’d? ‘Greening’ Critical Race Theory, and the pitfalls of a normative Atlantic state view', Race Ethnicity and Education, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 163-182. https://doi.org/10.1080/13613324.2013.858029

Kitching, K, O’Brien, S, Long, F, Conway, PF, Murphy, R & Hall, K 2015, 'Knowing how to feel about the Other? Student teachers, and the contingent role of embodiments in educational inequalities', Pedagogy, Culture and Society, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 203-223. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681366.2014.977805

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Kitching, K 2019, Racisms, Identity and Anti-Racist Learner-Citizenship. in C Fischer & A Mahon (eds), Philosophical Perspectives on Contemporary Ireland. Routledge.

Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Kitching, K 2020, Communion, Holy. in The Sage Handbook of Children and Childhood Studies. SAGE Publications, pp. 545-546.

Review article

Kitching, K 2020, 'Book Review: White privilege: the myth of a post-racial society by Kalwant Bhopal', Journal of Education Policy.

Working paper

Gillborn, D, Bhopal, K, Crawford, CE, Demack, S, Gholami, R, Kitching, K, Kiwan, D & Warmington, P 2021 'Evidence for the commission on race and ethnic disparities' University of Birmingham. https://doi.org/10.25500/epapers.bham.00003389

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