Category Archives: Reviews

Review of “Interrupting History”

Henderson Review (2012)

Thanks to Deborah Henderson for a very kind review of my book, Interrupting History: Rethinking History curriculum after ‘the end of history’, which has just been published in the latest edition of Curriculum Perspectives, and many thanks to Colin Marsh, the editor of the journal, for sending it to me.

Click on the image to read a copy of the review. If you are interested in reading the book itself, then click here.

ZPD and Transformative Pedagogy

Professor Alain Senteni, Director of the Virtual Centre for Innovative Learning Technologies (VCILT) and the Chairman of the Lifelong Learning Cluster (LLC) at the University of Mauritius drew on ideas from two of my early academic papers to develop the thrust of his “transformative pedagogy” argument. As Professor Senteni (2009) notes:

By questioning the activity that takes place in the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) in terms of strategic encounter with the Other through which the Self is transformed, Parkes’ definition of the pedagogical relationship allows us to re-state the pedagogical role and implication of developing countries knowledge communities, such as VCILT’s, in the global context of large scale technology-enhanced educational projects. As suggested by Parkes, the definition of Other and Self can be broaden from individuals to conceptual entities, such as communities, educational institutions or educational structures, so that one can extrapolate the strategic relationship to societal issues. In this regard, the ZPD provides emerging countries pedagogues with a powerful tool to master educational transformations in their countries, in fair strategic interaction with more capable developed countries.

The full discussion with reference to my work can be read by clicking here.

Collegial Review

On my successful 2008 promotion application, my Head of School, Professor Jenny Gore, University of Newcastle, wrote “I have firsthand knowledge of his rigorous approach to research, his capacity to generate novel ideas, and his enviable writing skill . . . He writes in a sophisticated yet accessible scholarly style. References to his scholarly work in citations are resoundingly complimentary.”

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Doctoral Dissertation Reviews

Parkes, R. J. (2006). Interrupting history: A critical-reconceoptualisation of history curriculum after ‘the end of history’. Doctoral dissertation presented in fulfilment of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle.

Professor Peter Seixas, University of British Columbia, Canada, described my doctoral dissertation as “thorough, clearly written… based on a close reading of a wide-ranging body of literature in . . . theory of history, postmodernism (and its variants), and curriculum theory . . . that makes a genuine contribution to thinking in the field of history curriculum.”

Professor William Reynolds, Georgia Southern University, USA, endorsed my doctoral work as “very original… and a major contribution to the curriculum field.”

While, Professor Noel Gough, LaTrobe University (at the time located at the University of Canberra), described my doctoral dissertation as “thought-provoking”, an “artfully structured thesis [that] represents rigorous and creative scholarship in conception, design and execution . . . and makes responsible (ie. locatable and thus able to be called into account) knowledge claims from clearly articulated and substantiated positions and standpoints on history, historiography, language and power.”

Professor Bill Green, Charles Sturt University, located my doctoral work “in the top echelon of all the dissertations I’ve supervised, examined and read.”

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Honours Reviews

Parkes, R. J. (1999). The constitution of the subject in the zone of proximal development: A critical analysis of agency in Vygotskian pedagogical discourse. Dissertation presented in fulfilment of the award of Bachelor of Education (Honours), Faculty of Education, University of Sydney.

Dr Marjorie O’Loughlin, University of Sydney, applauded my Honours dissertation for its “illuminating syntheses of psychological and sociological accounts of human cognition, agency and social contexts.”

Dr Ken Kruickshank described my Honours work as “elegant, with an original and well-argued thesis… [that] has made a genuine contribution to this field of study and writing.”

Associate Professor David Smith, University of Sydney, proclaimed of my Honours dissertation that “by any criteria, [this is] an excellent thesis… [that is] a sophisticated analysis of complex theoretical issues… [integrating] successfully a wide range of modernist and postmodernist literature in psychology, sociology, philosophy and pedagogy… [that] achieved this demanding integration with not only a clear focus at all times on the major purpose of the work but always with a perceptive sensitivity and cautious balanced appraisal of the many possible readings of the discourses that were engaged with in the project… in a written style that is not only clear and well organised, but is also interesting, engaging and a delight to read as well.”

Associate Professor Anthony R. Welch, Head of the School of Social and Policy Studies in Education, University of Sydney, described my Honours work as “mature and well-read, and a model of clarity, itself no minor task, when traversing terrain as complex and as troubled as this… supported by an excellent bibliography… [and] a most successful, consistent and mature elaboration of a most interesting line of argument… [showing] considerable development in its argument, is well written, carefully structured, and in most senses is a model of the level that all Honours students should strive to achieve.”

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