1st Edition

Critical Conversations on Knowledge, Curriculum and Epistemic Justice Engaging with the Legacy of Suellen Shay

Edited By Margaret Blackie, Kathy Luckett Copyright 2025
    198 Pages
    by Routledge

    This edited collection that celebrates the legacy of Suellen Shay, is located in Higher Education Studies and Development in South Africa, the country where she lived and worked. The book has international reach as the authors engage in contemporary debates around how to think about knowledge in education development work, in professional education and more recently around the call to decolonise the curriculum.

    Contributions draw on the social realist tradition in the sociology of education to discuss how curricula are or should be structured, in order to make key forms of knowledge accessible to students. The collection includes theoretical debates related to the field of higher education studies as well as chapters that analyse curricula and assessment in engineering, the health professions, tourism and music – including the impact on curricula of interdisciplinary collaboration across different types of institution and knowledge.  

    This book will be important for scholars wanting to transform how universities and colleges think about curriculum design and practice. It was originally published as a special issue of Teaching in Higher Education.

    Introduction – Building knowledge for higher education: engaging with the legacy of Suellen Shay

    Margaret Blackie and Kathy Luckett


    1. Knowledge-building in higher education research: analysing the work of a South African scholar, Suellen Shay

    Jennifer M. Case and Delia Marshall


    2. Understanding educational development in terms of the collective creation of socially-just curricula
    Paul Ashwin


    3. Not there yet: knowledge building in educational development ten years on

    Chrissie Boughey


    4. From affirmative to transformative approaches to academic development

    Sioux McKenna, Amanda Hlengwa, Lynn Quinn and Jo-Anne Vorster


    5. Beyond epistemology: the challenge of reconceptualising knowledge in higher education

    Kathy Luckett and Margaret A. L. Blackie


    6. ‘The shadows of “boundary” remain’: curriculum coherence and the spectre of practice

    Johan Muller


    7. Recontextualising professional knowledge: a view on ‘practical knowledge’

    Nicky Wolmarans


    8. Curricula under pressure: reclaiming practical knowledge

    Karin Wolff and Chris Winberg


    9. What knowledge matters in health professions education?

    Cecilia Jacobs and Susan Van Schalkwyk


    10. Disciplinary knowledge practices and powerful knowledge: a study on knowledge and curriculum structures in regions

    Johanna Annala


    11. Curriculum governance in the professions: where is the locus of control for decision-making?

    Mike Klassen


    12. Extending Shay’s double truth: toward a nuanced view of subjectivity and objectivity in assessment practices

    Jack Walton and Karin Wolff



    Margaret (Mags) Blackie is Associate professor at the Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning at Rhodes University in South Africa. She holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of Cape Town and a PhD in education from Stellenbosch University. Having spent most of her career working in a chemistry department and balancing medicinal chemistry research and STEM education research she now works in higher education studies. Her current research interests are on the knowledge structures in tertiary STEM education and the development of appropriate assessment practices. She has written on decoloniality in STEM education. Her work primarily draws on critical realism, social realism and Legitimation Code Theory. 

    Kathy Luckett is Emeritus Professor in the Centre for Higher Education Development, University of Cape Town and Honorary Professor in the Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching & Learning, Rhodes University. Currently she teaches and supervises on CHERTL’s Higher Education Studies programme and serves as Executive Editor for the ‘Teaching in Higher Education’ journal. She worked recently as Researcher for Policy Development in the Institutional Planning Department, UCT and Director of the Humanities Education Development Programme, UCT. Her research interests are sociology of knowledge and curriculum studies with a focus on the Humanities, Africana, decolonial and postcolonial studies; higher education.