Associate Professor

Research Supervision Interests

  • Education policy and governance 
    • Globalisation, ‘societies of control’, and international governance (e.g., OECD, World Bank);
    • Accountabilities, data, and surveillance studies (e.g., rankings);
    • Computation and algorithmic studies (e.g., artificial intelligence)
    • School choice and biopolitics;
    • Neo-liberal education policy (homo economicus, financializations, responsibilizations, entrepreneurialisms), and advanced-liberal education policy (populist authoritarianisms);
    • Neuroplasticity, ‘social emotional’, and therapeutic governmentalities;
    • Third-wave feminisms
    • Subjectivity studies and micropolitics
  • Michel Foucault
  • Gilles Deleuze
  • Wendy Brown
  • Félix Guattari
  • Luce Irigaray
  • Paul Gilroy
  • Isabelle Stengers
  • Paul Virillo
  • Luciana Parisi
  • Nicolas Rose
  • Judith Butler
  • Paul Rabinow


Dr. Webb’s fields of interest include contemporary Continental theories in relation to conceptions and practices of education policy and educational governance. He uses several Continental philosophers to critically examine formations of power and force in education. His research is directed towards ideas of political identity, political subjectivities, political economy, and biopolitics. His recent research has examined how education rationalizes and produces ‘governable subjects’ within liberal and neo-liberal normative architectures.

Dr. Webb received his BA in philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley; his MA in curriculum studies at the University of Colorado, Denver; and his PhD in educational policy studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. Prior to coming to UBC, Dr. Webb taught at the University of Washington, Bothell. Dr. Webb’s research has been identified as a significant reason for the development of educational policy studies in the past decade. From 2016 to 2020, Dr. Webb served as a Managing Editor for the journal Critical Studies in Education (CSE) and continues to serve on the Editorial Advisory Panel of CSE. Today, Dr. Webb serves as the Associate Regional Editor – Americas for the Journal of Education Policy and as a member of its Editorial Advisory Board.

In the Faculty of Education, Dr. Webb offers courses in the teacher education program that examine the political, social, and cultural histories of schooling. He offers graduate courses on educational governance, educational neoliberalism, post-qualitative methodologies (fieldwork-in-philosophy; concept work), and teaches the departmental PhD course on critical social theory.


University of California, Berkeley, 1991, BA, Philosophy
University of Colorado, Denver, 1996, MA, Curriculum & Instruction
University of Washington, Seattle, 2001, PhD , Education Policy Studies


2010 Qualitative Research SIG Outstanding Book Award (AERA)
2009 Critics Choice Book Award (AESA)
2005 Worthington Scholar Award (University of Washington, Bothell)

Research Projects

The education of, and by, machines: The impact of artificial intelligence on education policy Current

Grantor: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Role: Principal Investigator

The problematic of life in education: Theorizing the implications of the recent advancements in life sciences for education policy Current

Grantors: (1) Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) & (2) Killam Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (UBC)
Role: Principal Investigator, with Dr. Petra Mikulan (Postdoctoral Research)

Data infrastructures, mobilities and network governance in education Completed

Grantor: Australian Research Council (ARC). Role: Collaborator

Curriculum policy in an Afrocentric school: Care of the self during globalization Completed

Grantor: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Role: Principal Investigator

Selected Publications


Education policy and racial biopolitics in the multicultural city. University of Chicago (2017).









Policy geophilosophy and education. (2015).

Teacher assemblage. (2009).

  • *Outstanding Book Award, Qualitative Research SIG, American Educational Research Association, 2010
  • *Critics’ Choice Book Award, American Educational Studies Association, 2009









Recent Articles

Selected Invited Talks

  • Webb, P. T. (2018, May). Considerations for implementing neuroscience in educational practice: A policy perspective.
    • Educational Neuroscience Research Cluster, Vice President Research + Innovation (VPRI), University of British Columbia.
  • Webb, P. T. & Gulson, K. N. (2018, April 24). The education of, and by, machines: The impact of artificial intelligence on education policy.
    • Critical Dialogues Seminar Series, Department of Educational Studies, UBC.
  • Webb, P. T. (2018, April). Quina és la política educativa? (What is education policy?)
    • Invited presentation at the Facultat d’Educació, Traducció i Ciències Humanes (Faculty of Education, Translation, and Human Sciences), University of Vic, Spain (UVIC).
  • Webb, P. T. (2018, April). La política educativa, les biologies i la política de la pròpia vida. (Education policy, biologies, and the politics of life itself).
    • Invited presentation at the Centre d’Història de la Ciència (CEHIC), Facultat de Medicina (Center for the History of Science, Faculty of Medicine) at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). Barcelona, Spain.
  • Webb, P. T. (2018, April). Leadership in 2030: A brief history of tomorrow. Neuroplasticity.
    • Keynote talk at uLead: Visionary leadership for today’s learner. The Alberta Teachers’ Association. Banff, Alberta.

Students Supervised

Representative projects

Courses Taught


  • EDST 401: Education, School, and Social Institutions (Teacher Education Program)
  • EDST 531: The Politics of Education Governance
  • EDST 596: Philosophy and Education Policy: Neoliberalism
  • EDST 601A: Critical Social Theory in Education (PhD Program)

Community Work

Editorial Boards

  • Editorial Advisory Board, Journal of Education Policy, 2016-.
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Critical Studies in Education, 2016-.