Kathryn Moeller

Assistant Professor


217 Education Building

1000 Bascom Mall

Madison, WI 53706

Moeller, Kathryn


My critical feminist scholarship examines the political economy of education and international development.

For the past decade, my research and writing has focused on U.S. transnational corporations’ investments in girls’ and women’s education and economic development based on fieldwork in the U.S. and Brazil. I am the author of The Gender Effect: Capitalism, Feminism, and the Corporate Politics of Development (University of California Press 2018), winner of the National Women’s Studies Association’s Sara A. Whaley Prize. My writing has also been published in scholarly journals, such as Feminist Studies, Educational Researcher, Journal of Education Policy, and British Journal of Sociology of Education, and other venues such as The New Yorker, Fast Company, and The Huffington Post. My research has also been featured on the BBC’s Business Daily, NPR’s Marketplace, Wisconsin Public Radio’s Central Time, andNortheast Public Radio’s 51%.

I was a 2017-2018 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow for my research on Silicon Valley’s investments in the intertwined futures of education and work around the world. My research has also been funded by the National Science Foundation, Fulbright, Fulbright Hays, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I am also an affiliate of Gender and Women’s Studies and the Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies Program.

My courses use social theory and political economy to critically examine the relationships among people’s lives, knowledge, institutions, polices, and practices in the fields of education, international development, and feminism from theoretical, historical, and comparative perspectives. I have recently taught Theories of Social & Educational Change; Political Economy & Education; Gender & Education; Wealth, Poverty and Inequality in Education; Globalization & Education, and Qualitative Analysis in Education. I have also previously taught courses, such as Global Poverty, Introduction to Gender & Women’s Studies and Introduction to Feminist Theory.

I am an editor of Feminist Studies, the first scholarly journal in the field of gender, feminist, and women’s studies.

I received my Ph.D. (2012) from the Social and Cultural Studies Program in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley with a Designated Emphasis in Gender, Women, and Sexuality from the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies. I also hold an M.A. in Curriculum & Teaching from Michigan State University, and a B.S. in Sociology and Human and Organizational Development with a minor in African American Studies from Vanderbilt University. Prior to graduate school, I was a high school teacher in the U.S. and Honduras.

Select Publications

  • Moeller, K. (2020) Accounting for the Corporate: An Analytic Framework for Understanding Corporations in Education Educational Researcher
  • Moeller, K. (2020) The Politics of Curricular Erasure: Debates on Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Brazilian ‘Common Core’ Curriculum Race, Ethnicity, and Education, 1-21.
  • Tarlau, R., & Moeller, K. (2019) Philanthropizing Consent: How a Private Foundation Pushed through National Learning Standards in Brazil Journal of Education Policy, 1-30.
  • Moeller, K. (2018) The Gender Effect: Capitalism, Feminism, and the Corporate Politics of Development Oakland: University of California Press.
  • Moeller, K. (2016) A Critical Feminist and Race Critique of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century Special Issue on Piketty's Relevance for Education, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 37(6), 810-822.
  • Moeller, K., & Tarlau, R. (2016) Thomas Piketty’s Relevance for Education: Reflections on the Political Economy of Education British Journal of Sociology of Education, 37(6), 805-809.
  • Moeller, K. (2014) Searching for Adolescent Girls in Brazil: Corporate Development and the Transnational Politics of Poverty in the Girl Effect Feminist Studies, 40(3), 575-601.
  • Moeller, K. (2013) Proving the Girl Effect: Corporate Knowledge Production and Educational Intervention International Journal of Educational Development, 33, 612-621. Online Publication/Abstract.