Dr Carmen Martinez Vargas

Lecturer in Education and Social Justice

Research Overview

Carmen Martinez Vargas is a transdisciplinary scholar whose work is focused on the politics of knowledge and knowledge inequalities embedded in Higher Education practices, especially focusing on participatory research and the Capability Approach. Her research and writing are rooted in a lifelong ongoing conversation between Western and Southern thinkers but especially embedded in the last years within decolonial, post-colonial and feminist lines of thought. Her areas of expertise thus, run from educational studies, critical participatory methodologies praxis, as well as applied philosophy, political philosophy, and global development ethics. Her recent research has explored the importance of acknowledging the historicities of oppression when analyzing structural constraints through 'Colonial Conversion Factors'. This is done by understanding individuals and their communities not as static actors to interpret (beings), but as dynamic actors (becoming) whose relation between structures of oppression and agency translates equally into insurgencies and the complex negotiations between them. Her more recent research projects explore the contribution of indigenous university systems to the well-being of local communities, as 'ongoing and implicit' decolonising' strategies, as well as her project on sustainable university futures, co-researching with students activist Pan-African rooted conceptions of sustainability in education. Her recently published book 'Democratising Participatory Research: Pathways to Social Justice from the South' reviews many of these global challenges in Higher Education. This is an open-access book published by OpenBook Publishers, a UK not-for-profit publisher.