Patricia Maguire: Sharing the History of My Professional Journey

As CIE graduates retire or approach the end of their professional careers, they face the question of what to do with all that they have done, learned, and written.  They ask themselves if others might benefit in some way from their work, but face the challenge of how to share their experience. Patricia Maguire has provided us with an inspiring example of one answer to that question.  She has created a delightful and insightful way of sharing.


The years (1981-87) Pat spent at CIE coincided with the interest in topics of women’s roles in development, and the burgeoning development of Participatory Action Research (PAR). It was also a period when CIE was publishing a variety of books and documents produced by students and graduates.


Her book “Doing Participatory Research: A Feminist Approach”, an edited version of her dissertation, was a best seller and led CIE’s list of publications for many years.


Pat went on to a 25 year career of teaching and research at Western New Mexico University.  Her research focused on PAR, particularly its linkages to feminism and teaching.  She published a number of chapters and articles on these topics.


Recently she took advantage of the time during the pandemic lockdown to create a web site which she says is “as much memoir as repository, this is a history of my journey. A personal story or backstory contextualizes some of my publications, presentations, and teaching resources.”   The site is a fascinating example of presenting one’s life’s work in an entertaining and accessible way, while at the same time organizing it to provide easy access for others to the main research themes and publications of her career.


Patricia Maguire’s Website:


Of particular interest to the CIE community are parts of what she calls “backstories” that chronicle life at CIE linked to the themes of Women in Development and PAR.  Her backstories interweave her journey with the ideas of major thinkers that influenced her thinking.


An excerpt from the section of her web site on Women in Development:


In lieu of oral comprehensive exams, CIE doctoral candidates wrote and defended research papers.… Over several years, Those Ladies Dove is Dead evolved into Women in development: An alternative analysis (published by CIE in 1984). To get there, I immersed myself in feminist theories. Later I was influenced by feminists of the global south, particularly their critique of the entire development enterprise. The work of Caribbean feminists Peggy Antrobus, DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era), and Patricia Ellis expanded my understandings. Re–reading my monograph years later, I see that my own analysis of feminist theories was unsophisticated. I’m reminded of Patti Lather and Getting Smart. I wasn’t that smart. But it’s where I started.


Another excerpt – from the section on Doing Participatory Research:


David Kinsey started an Alternative Research methods course, tapping into the international network of participatory research centers funded by the International Council on Adult Education (ICAE). It was a heady time for aspiring participatory researchers at CIE. Over several years the leaders in the field came to CIE. Rajesh Tandon, who headed the Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) group in Delhi, spoke. Paulo Freire gave numerous workshops, as did Miles Horton of the Highlander Folk School and Ira Shor. Peter Park was at UMASS in the Sociology Department. Motivated by David Kinsey’s course, I was determined to try participatory action research. I had a research approach in search of a problem, instead of a problem in search of the most appropriate methods.


Perhaps Pat’s example will inspire others to create ways of sharing their careers in ways that will benefit others.  Thank you Pat for this example! [1-21]