Skip to content. | Skip to navigation


Debbie Sonu

Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Teaching
Office W1112
Office phone: 212-772-5445

Prof. Sonu  holds an Ed.D. and MA degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, an MA from the Center X Teacher Education Program at the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.


Dr. Sonu teaches courses in both the Childhood and Adolescent Education Programs.

  • Social Studies Methods and Curriculum Development in Elementary Education (CEDC 722)
  • Fieldwork in Reading and Social Studies (CEDC 715)
  • Intensive Study of Teaching Diverse Learners in Social Studies: Methods I & II (SEDC 715/215)


Dr. Sonu's research interests include youth culture, curriculum studies, and issues related to institutional justice and moral practices in urban schools. She draws from postmodern frameworks in order to examine teacher and student meaning-making at the intersection of history education and social psychology and seeks to understand the educational implications of teacher thought in classroom practices and decision-making.  Her dissertation, which explored youth performances and social justice education, received the 2011 Division B Outstanding Dissertation of the Year Award and the 2010 Critical Educators for Social Justice SIG Distinguished Dissertation of the Year Award from the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Her recent work examines the conceptions of peace and violence among young children and how urban students understand indigenous populations, past and present. She was recently invited to contribute a chapter entitled the "Youth Cultural Milieu" in the forthcoming Guide to Curriculum in Education to be published by Sage.

Selected Publications:

Sonu, D & Hughes, S. (forthcoming, 2015). The Youth Cultural Milieu, in M.F. He, B. Schultz & B. Schubert (Eds.), Guide to Curriculum in Education. New York: Sage.

Sonu, D. (forthcoming, 2013). For the Sake of Diplomacy: The Educational (im)Possibility of Teaching Peace by New York City Elementary School Teachers. In R. Naqvi & R. Smits (Eds.), Framing Peace: Thinking about and Enacting Curriculum as “Radical Hope” (pp. XX). New York: Peter Lang.

Sonu, D. (2013). Justice Work In and Out of Justice Itself. Special issue of Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, edited by Therese Quinn and Erica R. Meiners, 29(2).

Sonu, D. (2013). Friendship, Education, and Justice Teaching: The Professional Development of Two Teacher-Friends, Teaching and Learning: Journal of Natural Inquiry and Reflective Practice, 27(1), p. 19-34.

Sonu, D. (2012). Illusions of compliance: Performing the public and hidden transcripts of social justice education in neoliberal times, Curriculum Inquiry, 42(2), p. 240-259.

Sonu, D., Oppenheim, R., Epstein, S. & Agarwal, R. (2012). Taking responsibility: Using positioning  theory to understand who’s responsible for a social justice education, Education, Citizenship, and Social Justice, (7)2, p. 175-189.

Sonu, D. (2011). Breathing spaces in neoliberal places: An essay review of Peter Taubman´s Teaching By Numbers, Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 27(3), p. 308-316.

Sonu, D. (2009). Social Justice must be action: Obligatory duty and the institutionalizing of activism in schools. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 25(2), p. 90-104.

Document Actions

School of Education website feedback: email us
695 Park Ave
NY, NY 10065