Three Ontologies of STEM Education: An Apolitical Curricular Trend, Eurocentric Economic Policy, and Discursive Episteme

  • Mark Wolfmeyer Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
  • John Lupinacci Washington State University
  • Nataly Chesky State University of New York, New Paltz
Keywords: STEM Education, Ontology, Epistemology, Educational Policy


In our efforts to foster space for critical work in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education, we put Barad’s notion of agential realism to work in describing the ontological space of STEM. We suggest three intersecting dimensions to this ontology: STEM as apolitical curricular trend, STEM as Eurocentric economic policy, and STEM as discursive episteme. With the goal of interrupting and proposing alternatives, we conclude by pointing to existing spaces where critical work in mathematics and science education already occurs.

Author Biographies

Mark Wolfmeyer, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Mark Wolfmeyer taught mathematics in secondary public schools before receiving his PhD in Urban Education from the Graduate Center, City University of New York. As a teacher educator at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, he prepares future mathematics teachers and teaches educational foundations. Dr. Wolfmeyer is the author of several publications including his most recent book Mathematics Education: A Critical Introduction (Routledge, 2017).

John Lupinacci, Washington State University

Dr. John Lupinacci is an Assistant Professor at Washington State University in the College of Education. His work as a former high school math teacher, and experience with adult learning and ecocritical education, contribute to his work to examine environmental justice, eco-racism, and sustainability through an interdisciplinary approach to cultural studies and social thought in education.

Nataly Chesky, State University of New York, New Paltz

Dr. Nataly Chesky is an Assistant Professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz in the Teaching and Learning Department. She teaches undergraduate mathematics pedagogy courses and several STEM related graduate courses. Dr. Chesky has authored two books, several peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and presented in local, national, and international conferences. Her area of specialization is in STEM policy and the intersection of philosophy of mathematics and eco-justice pedagogy.

(Re)Considering STEM Education