History of education in East Asia; pedagogy; communication theory; digital humanities
Tucker Harding is an educator and theorist working on questions pertaining to the nature, qualities and consequences of educational thought and forms of study. His current focus is on the pedagogy of culture and the history of educational thought in East Asia. He finds this area especially pertinent in an era in which the primeval struggle to understand ourselves and what we create through reflective agencies of research and education is heavily afflicted by divestment and cynicism in the centers of political power. An interesting aspect of this concern, Professor Harding argues, is the role that technology has played in both contributing to the shape of perceived problems and, at the same time, defining the arena of possible solutions.
After growing up mostly outdoors in rural New Hampshire, Professor Harding left to pursue an interest in cultures of the Himalayas and eventually finished his secondary schooling at a small boarding school in the mountains of Uttarakhand, India. Striving to make sense of the formative experience had there, he went on to attend Bates College where he majored in East Asian Studies, and spent a significant portion of his undergraduate years in East Asia studying under Drs. John and Sarah Strong. During this time he also attended and graduated from Officer Candidates School in the United States Marine Corps, and afterward moved to Beijing, China to continue his interest in East Asian culture and education. After five years teaching and living a corporate life in China, his educational life got the better of him and he returned to the US to begin his tenure at Columbia University. In 2007 he was employed as an education project manager for the Center for New Media Teaching and Learning where he worked to improve education across the university. His boss, mentor and doctoral advisor, the late Dr. Frank Moretti, had a tremendous impact on Professor Harding’s perceptions and understandings of “study” as a critical human activity. As a student and advisee of Dr. Robert McClintock, he began to situate himself historically in “educational thought”, an intellectual space in which he remains. He currently teaches courses in communication theory, history and the history of Western educational thought at Columbia’s Teachers College, and is in the process of creating courses in the history of East Asian educational thought and experience.
In addition to his interests in the educational processes involved in cultural studies, Professor Harding is a specialist in improving the study of complex problems and systems, and works with a range of educators and practitioners across a variety of disciplines to enhance decision-making (and related) skill development, often pertaining to perspective-taking, and most recently in the realm of mass atrocity prevention. He works extensively in private and public sectors, representing higher education, state and federal governments, and NGOs worldwide. He has worked with the UN, US Dept. of State, US Institute of Peace (USIP), US Agency for International Development (USAID), the US Naval War College, the Department of Population and Family Health and Epidemiology of the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia, the Columbia Business School, the Budapest Center for the Prevention of Mass Atrocity and Genocide, Illia State University (Tblisi, Georgia), Economic Consortium of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity.