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  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2021

Unsettling Responsibility in Science Education

Indigenous Science, Deconstruction, and the Multicultural Science Education Debate

Palgrave Macmillan


  • Open Access publication

  • Deconstructs science education's responsibility towards Indigenous science

  • Investigates the cultural, theoretical, historical, and ontological contexts of the multicultural science education debate

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in Educational Futures (PSEF)

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 49.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxxvi
  2. Unsettling the Metaphysics of Responsibility

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 1-1
    2. Unsettling Metaphysics in Science Education

      • Marc Higgins
      Pages 3-52Open Access
    3. The Homework of Response-Ability in Science Education

      • Marc Higgins
      Pages 53-78Open Access
  3. Critical Possibilities and Possible Critiques Through Deconstructive Play in/of the Multicultural Science Education Debate

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 79-79
  4. Tinkering with Ontology with/in the Multicultural Science Education Debate

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 181-181
  5. Towards a Curriculum for Indigenous Science To-Come

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 269-269
  6. Back Matter

    Pages 343-350

About this book

This open access book engages with the response-ability of science education to Indigenous ways-of-living-with-Nature. Higgins deconstructs the ways in which the structures of science education—its concepts, categories, policies, and practices—contribute to the exclusion (or problematic inclusion) of Indigenous science while also shaping its ability respond. Herein, he undertakes an unsettling homework to address the ways in which settler colonial logics linger and lurk within sedimented and stratified knowledge-practices, turning the gaze back onto science education. This homework critically inhabits culture, theory, ontology, and history as they relate to the multicultural science education debate, a central curricular location that acts as both a potential entry point and problematic gatekeeping device, in order to (re)open the space of responsiveness towards Indigenous ways-of-knowing-in-being.


  • Post-Colonial studies
  • post-humanist
  • Indigenization
  • Cartesianism
  • science curriculum
  • pedagogy
  • Open Access


“Moving beyond tropes of empowerment, scientific literacy, and related bon hommes, Higgins’s book offers one of the richest theoretical assemblages I have read in some time. He welds insights from post-humanist, feminist, Indigenous, and post-colonial scholars, conducing the theoretical potential of being and becoming into a fleshed out educational experience. Dr. Higgins’ asks ‘if science education has a responsibility, is it able to respond?’ and leaves this reader answering ‘yes, but…’ as he both affirms and questions that potential throughout with precision. This is truly an untimely book for these times of tweets and memes as readers who appreciate complex insights steeped in a deep ethical regard for our collective well-being will find themselves returning for nourishment to this book again and again.”
Kent den Heyer, Professor of Education, University of Alberta, Canada

“Exploring the relationships between Indigenous and Western Science in science education, this book takes readers on a journey which explores various converging and diverging theoretical and epistemological standpoints that challenge normalized binary ways of looking at the world. This book is a must read for people who are engaged in thinking about and through the relationships between Indigenous science and enlightenment-based science. Particularly, this book will guide you in reflecting on, responding to, and recreating your own science education research and practices by wandering through creative new theoretical spaces.”
Eun-Ji Amy Kim, Lecturer, School of Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University, Australia

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Secondary Education, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

    Marc Higgins

About the author

Marc Higgins is Assistant Professor in the Department of Secondary Education at the University of Alberta, Canada, where he is affiliated with the Faculty of Education’s Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP). His research labors the methodogical space between Indigenous, post-structural, and post-humanist theories in order to respond to contested ways of knowing and being, such as Indigenous science. 

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Unsettling Responsibility in Science Education

  • Book Subtitle: Indigenous Science, Deconstruction, and the Multicultural Science Education Debate

  • Authors: Marc Higgins

  • Series Title: Palgrave Studies in Educational Futures

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Education, Education (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2021

  • License: CC BY

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-61298-6Published: 20 November 2020

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-61301-3Published: 14 December 2021

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-61299-3Published: 19 November 2020

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXXVI, 350

  • Topics: Science Education, Curriculum Studies, Philosophy of Education, Education

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 49.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)