Thematic Areas

As a national leader in the combined areas of civic education and international comparative education, CIEDR’s collaborative work is focused on the following thematic areas that guide intellectual inquiry and education development efforts. 

Democracy and Civic Identity

Working from the premise that democracy is not only a political arrangement, but also a social construction, educators in various parts of the world imagine, interpret, and challenge their respective societies to create more fair and just social spaces.  Toward that end, CIEDR examines how various markers of identity (e.g., cultural, social, political, and religious) shape educational policies and practices in various countries.  CIEDR explores how conceptions of, and participation in, democracies are evolving in diverse cultural contexts.  This work entails consideration of how historical and contemporary conditions influence educational efforts and how cultural knowledge and context shape education and democracy.  CIEDR examines the complex intersection of state, culture, and education and their influences on citizen identity formation.  Philosophical questions about what constitutes the common good underlie investigations of how global and local forces shape civic identities and education.

International Educational Policy

CIEDR faculty work with educational policy makers and practitioners in K-12 and higher education contexts at the local, national, and international levels.  CIEDR, in collaboration with a host of partners, strives to improve educational access, opportunity, and quality and examines how challenges of “globality” (borrowing from elsewhere) influence emergent paradigms in national education systems and curriculum.

Human Rights and Gender Equity in Conflict Fragile Environments

CIEDR has been successful in navigating educational reform efforts with country partners in nation-states that have been sites of recent armed conflict.  The Center, with educational partners abroad, works to increase higher education’s institutional capacity in fragile state environments.  CIEDR’s efforts also focus on educational empowerment for girls and women and the minimization of institutional barriers for women’s access to and leadership in higher education.

Globalization and Indigenous Knowledge

Woven throughout CIEDR scholarship and activities is concern for education matched to the internal needs of countries and a valuing of indigenous ways of knowing.  Educational stakeholders navigate a complex global-local terrain in which they are asked to produce graduates who will meet the economic needs of their respective countries.  The Center’s commitment to cultural knowledge and perspectives is seen as a way to balance the discourse of competition among the global network of nations.  CIEDR therefore pays particular attention to how the intersection of Western and non-Western perspectives influence education reform initiatives.

Social Studies and Global Education

The Center for International Education, Development & Research (CIEDR) was formerly known as the Center for Social Studies and International Education (CSSIE), and before that, the Social Studies Development Center (SSDC).  The Center was founded in 1968 as a coordinated effort of the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education at Indiana University.  CIEDR seeks to improve education in the social studies (history, geography, economics, civics, anthropology, and the social sciences) through the infusion of cultural, international, and global perspectives in primary and secondary schools, as well as higher education institutions, in the U.S. and abroad. The Center therefore strives to expand U.S. students’ knowledge about the rest of the world.

Civic Engagement and Democratic Pedagogy

Educating children, youth, and adults to be knowledgeable citizens who participate in the civic affairs of their communities and countries is an important aspect of CIEDR’s work.  The Center is guided by democratic pedagogy and works with educators and communities in culturally sensitive ways.  The Center is also committed to transforming teaching and learning from didactic to student-centered and thus plays a role in teacher education.

Teacher Education

CIEDR faculty and affiliated students are deeply involved in preparing history and social studies teachers, and much of this work centers on encouraging elementary and secondary teachers to attend to the democratic purposes of education. This includes research on beginning and experienced teachers’ ideas about themselves, their students, and democratic ideals and practices, particularly with regard to controversial and value-laden topics.

Historical Understanding

CIEDR faculty and affiliated students engage in research on the development of historical understanding, including concepts of time, agency, causation, narrative, significance, and perspective. This work is centrally concerned with the social and cultural contexts in which historical teaching and learning takes place, both in school and out, and in international and comparative contexts. These studies include investigations of students’ thinking, studies of classroom practice, and curricular and policy analysis.