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Dr. Gail Boldt

Distinguished Professor of Education (LLED) & Women's Studies

Phone: 814-865-0655

164B Chambers Building
University Park, PA 16802


  • Curriculum and Instruction


  • Literacies and English Language


Dr. Boldt is a Distinguished Professor of Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Penn State. She teaches graduate seminars in theory and philosophy as they relate to contemporary issues in education. At the undergraduate level, she works in the Elementary and Early Childhood program, teaching literacy methods classes for pre-k - 4th grade pre-service teachers. She is an affiliated faculty member in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Dr. Boldt is the Senior Editor of the Bank Street Occasional Paper Series. She is also a psychoanalytically-oriented psychotherapist, trained in providing play therapy to children.

Dr. Boldt defines herself as a curriculum theorist interested in literacies, elementary and early childhood education, identity (including gender, sexuality, class, and race) and post-identity, childhood studies, cultural studies, and disability studies. She works primarily with narrative research, drawing analytic lenses from Deleuzo-Guattarian, post-structural, and psychoanalytic theories. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Hawai’i in Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies, where her advisor was the educational anthropologist Joseph Tobin. Her cognate study was in cultural studies with particular emphasis on post-colonial and feminist work. Prior to her Ph.D., she was an elementary school teacher in Honolulu. She has her teaching certification from Mills College in Oakland, California, as well as a M.T.S. from the Divinity School at Harvard University and an M.Ed in Counseling from Penn State.

Before coming to Penn State, Dr. Boldt was an assistant and associate professor in the Language, Literacy and Culture Program at the University of Iowa. She spent a year as a visiting scholar at the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute and completed a post-graduate program at the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis called New Directions in Psychoanalytic Thinking, where she is now part of the faculty. She studied in the infant and young child program at the Washington School for Psychiatry and was a research fellow at the Anna Freud Center at the Yale Child Study Center. She is a Fellow in the College of Research Fellows of the American Psychoanalytic Association and is the editor of the Oxford University bibliography of psychoanalysis in childhood studies.

Dr. Boldt's current research draws from her clinical psychotherapy work and combines Deleuzo-Guattarian theory with contemporary relational psychoanalysis to theorize how learning and change occur through affective experiences that do not privilege speech or conscious awareness. She uses this to theorize ways to think about and work with the affective worlds of children and teachers in schools. Dr. Boldt writes collaboratively with Kevin Leander (Vanderbilt University) to consider school literacies from a Deleuzo-Guattarian perspective. For the past ten years, Dr. Boldt has led a campus reading group open to faculty and graduate students from across the campus, reading Deleuzo-Guattarian, post-human, and new feminist materialist theories.

Areas of Expertise

Age Levels

Early Childhood


Equity and Diversity
Media Literacy/Education

Curriculum Areas

Curriculum Issues
Language, Culture, and Society Ed

Education Levels

Early Childhood Ed

Education Types

Public Ed

Educational Studies

Critical & Feminist Theory
Cultural Studies
Educational Theory
Media Studies

Individual Difference

Learning Processes
Sexual Orientation

Methodological Research

Interpretive Research
Qualitative Research

Social Issues

Race and Ethnicity

Teacher Preparation

Pre-service Teachers
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