It was while Erika Hasebe-Ludt was still a PhD student in Vancouver, far from her childhood home in the southwest of Germany, that Dr. Ted Aoki, a member of her supervisory committee, suggested she explore the research of Dr. Cynthia Chambers and Dr. David Smith, both from the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge. Dr. Smith was to become her external examiner, and he encouraged her to apply for a one-year contract in Lethbridge beginning in 1998. This turned into a career spanning 23 years and two provinces, with her work located here and her Canadian-Japanese husband and daughter already rooted in Vancouver. It wasn’t an easy decision,” remembers Dr. Erika Hasebe-Ludt, but to be part of a “vibrant and inviting context for research and writing” in a Faculty of Education with a “strong reputation for curriculum studies and literacy” was an exceptional opportunity.
Dr. Erika Hasebe-Ludt taught many undergraduate Education courses in Language and Literacy and Curriculum Studies. She was a notable contributor to these fields and was funded by several SSHRC and other grants. In 2014, she received the Ted T. Aoki Award for Distinguished Service in Canadian Curriculum Studies. As well, Dr. Hasebe-Ludt mentored countless graduate students, collaborating with them on book chapters, journal articles, and over 100 conference presentations. Central to Erika’s research with her colleagues and students is “honouring how we work together to bring more voices into education, in authentic and ethical ways.” Like Georgia Heard (1995), she believes that “if we listen hard enough we can hear hundreds of other voices trying to sing like us. Like threads weaving a cloth. Like the constellation patterns we draw to connect stars. Voices who have never dared to sing before.”
A highlight of Dr. Hasebe-Ludt’s career was the MEd Literacy Cohort which she and Dr. Cynthia Chambers conceptualized and integrated with Summer Institutes on Living Literacies, both at the U of L and UBC.
Their work with métissage (the braiding of individual texts as lived curriculum into an intertextual composition with others without erasing difference) continues to be integral to Dr. Hasebe-Ludt’s research and influential with new and established scholars. “Learning the history about this Blackfoot place and making a home on this landscape has been a challenge as well as a blessing.” This included collaborating with local elders and other educators, among them the late Narcisse Blood, Dwayne Donald, and Ramona Big Head, to attend to “the Blackfoot concept aoksisowaato’p, which refers to the ethical importance of visiting a place as an act of relational renewal that is life-giving and life-sustaining, both to the place and to ourselves” (2014). Métissage as an arts-based research and pedagogy brings to light “all these stories.”
Dr. Hasebe-Ludt’s long list of service in the academy includes co-president of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies (CACS) and editor for the Canadian Journal of Education. Dr. Hasebe-Ludt co-authored and edited six books, among them Life Writing and Literary Métissage as an Ethos for our Times (2009), co-authored with Dr. Cynthia Chambers and the late Dr. Carl Leggo, and Canadian Curriculum Studies: A Métissage of Inspiration/Imagination/Interconnection (Hasebe-Ludt & Leggo, 2019).
As she recalls her years at the university Erika doesn’t regret her decision to move between two worlds, her work in this prairie city and her family home on the west coast, while always situated in the terrain of her German homeland and the memories of her mother’s stone house in Saarbrücken, Germany. “My kinships in and with these places have made it possible to become the educator and human being I am…and am still becoming.” We are honoured Dr. Erika Hasebe-Ludt chose to make Lethbridge one of her homes and wish her well as she continues her life-writing research with(in) other places.
For more of Dr. Hasebe-Ludt’s publications, see:
• Provoking a Curricular Métissage of Polyphonic Textualities
• Life Writing Across Knowledge Traditions
• A Heart of Wisdom: Life Writing as Empathetic Inquiry. Complicated Conversation: A Book Series of Curriculum Studies
Writer: Christy Audet
Photographer: Ken Heidebrecht
For more information please contact:
Communications, Dean's Office
Faculty of Education
University of Lethbridge
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