Author Bio

Fatemeh Moghaddam (she, her, hers) is a doctoral candidate in Cultural Foundations of Education and Women’s and Gender Studies at Syracuse University. Fatemeh’s work is at the intersection of decolonial transnational, Black, Indigenous, and Muslim feminist praxis and pedagogies. Her current work centers around a critique of discourses of Muslim women’s leadership, empowerment and agency in the context of global and settler-colonial liberalism. Using ethnography and oral history, her current research theorizes and reconceptualizes women’s leadership, practice of power and homosocial community building and charts an Indigenous genealogy of feminist leadership in Iran. During the past fifteen years, Fatemeh has been trained in the ontological approach to leadership in academic institutions in Iran, India, Malaysia, Singapore, and the United States.


Ontological Inquiry, Decolonizing pedagogy


This article argues that ontological phenomenological methods, addressing being, becoming, and existence, provide novel forms of knowledge production and pathways to decolonizing pedagogy in higher education through critiquing its neoliberalist and anthropocentric settler-colonial foundations. Two metaphors are employed to explore ontological pedagogy: one metaphor highlights the linguistic dynamics of joke-telling and the other compares the acquisition of a new language to ontological learning. A concise overview of decolonizing pedagogy and ontological phenomenological pedagogy is provided through sharing the author's experiences, positionality, and exposures to these frameworks. The inquiry also explores whether ontological pedagogical framework remains mainly discursive or leads to material change, especially in light of autobiographical accounts of the author's encounters with systemic, material, and discursive oppression. The author intentionally refrains from conclusions, inviting readers to engage in a nuanced exploration of a less-traveled realm of ontological inquiry in higher education.