Lisa Farley


PhD - University of Toronto; MEd - York University; BA (Hons.) - York University

Location(s) / Contact Info:

204, Winters College - WC
Keele Campus
Phone: 416-736-2100 Ext. 22843


Available to supervise graduate students
Currently taking on work-study students, Graduate Assistants or Volunteers
Available to supervise undergraduate thesis projects


Lisa Farley joined the faculty in 2007. Her research considers the uses of psychoanalysis in conceptualizing the meaning of childhood and education. Her book, Childhood Beyond Pathology (2018) examines how psychoanalytic concepts can inform ongoing challenges of representing development, belonging, interiority, and relationality, with a focus on debates over how children should be treated, what they might know, and who they should become. Within teacher education, Farley has explored teachers' memories of childhood and schooling as key parts of becoming a teacher. Her most recently SSHRC-funded project partners with the Association of Children's Museums to examine the meaning and challenges of museum programming and practices that represent difficult knowledge with children.


Scholarly Interests

Studies of childhood and psychoanalysis; emotional dynamics of teaching and learning; childhood memory and teacher education; difficult knowledge and curriculum studies

Faculty & School/Dept

  • Faculty of Education

Selected Publications

  • Sonu, D.; Farley, L.; Chang-Kredl, S. & Garlen, J.C. (2022). Sick at School: Teachers' Memories and the Affective Challenges that Bodies Present to Constructions of Childhood Innocence, Normalcy, and Ignorance. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies. doi:10.1080/10714413.2022.2031693.
  • Farley, L; Garlen, J.C.; Chang-Kredl, S. & Sonu, D. (2022). The Critical Work of Memory and the Nostalgic Return of Innocence: How Emergent Teachers Represent Childhood. Pedagogy, Culture, and Society. doi:10.1080/14681366.2022.2063930.
  • Garlen, J.C.; Sonu, D.; Farley, L. & Chang-Kredl, S. (2022). Agency as Assemblage: Using Childhood Artefacts and Memories to Examine Children's Relations with Schooling. Journal of Childhood, Education and Society, 3 (2), 122-138. doi:
  • Garlen, J.C.; Chang-Kredl, S.; Farley, L.; & Sonu, D. (2021). Childhood Innocence and Experience: Memory, Discourse and Practice. Children and Society, 35 (5), 648-662. doi:10.1111/chso.12428.
  • Farley, L. & Boldt, G. (Eds.) (2021). Welcoming Narratives in Education: A Tribute to the Life Work of Jonathan Silin Bank Street Occasional Paper Series, 45.
  • Farley, L. & Kennedy RM. (2020). Transgender Embodiment as an Invitation to Thought: A Psychoanalytic Critique of "Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria". Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 21 (3), 155-172. doi:10.1080/15240657.2020.1798184.
  • Farley, L.; Sonu, D.; Garlen, J.C. & Chang-Kredl, S. (2020). Childhood Memories of Playful Antics and Punishable Acts: Risking an Imperfect Future of Teaching and Learning. The New Educator, 16 (2), 106-121. doi:10.1080/1547688X.2020.1731036.
  • Sonu, D.; Farley, L.; Chang-Kredl, S.; & Garlen, J.C. (2020). The Dreamwork of Childhood Memory: The Futures Teachers Make from the Schooling Past Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 35 (4), 15-27.
  • Farley, L. (2020). Innocence. In F. MacGilchrist & R. Metro (Eds.), Trickbox Of Memory: Essays on Power and Disorderly Pasts. New York, NY: Punctum
  • Farley, L. (2018). Childhood Beyond Pathology: A Psychoanalytic Study of Development and Diagnosis. State University of New York Press
  • Farley, L. & Kennedy, RM. (2017). The Failure of Thought: Childhood and Evildoing in the Shadow of Traumatic Inheritance. Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies, 39 (2), 121-138. doi:10.1080/10714413.2017.1296277.
  • Farley, L. & Kennedy, RM. (2016). A Sex of One's Own: Childhood and the Embodiment of (Trans)gender. Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, 21 (2), 167-183. doi:10.1057/pcs.2015.59.
  • Farley, L. (2015). The Human Problem in Educational Research: Notes from the Psychoanalytic Archive. Curriculum Inquiry, 45 (5), 437-454. doi:10.1080/03626784.2015.1095621.
  • Farley, L. (2014). Psychoanalytic Notes on the Status of Depression in Curriculum Affected by Loss. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 22 (1), 117-136. doi:10.1080/14681366.2013.877218.
  • Farley, L. (2012). Analysis on Air: A Sound History of Winnicott in Wartime. American Imago, 69 (4), 449-471. doi:
  • Farley, L. (2012). Operation Pied Piper: A Psychoanalytic narrative of Authority in a Time of War Psychoanalysis and History, 14 (1), 29-52.
  • Farley, L. (2011). Squiggle Evidence: The Child, the Canvas and the 'Negative Labor' of History. History and Memory, 23 (2), 5-39. doi:10.2979/histmemo.23.2.5.
  • Farley, L. (2009). Radical Hope: On the Problem of Uncertainty in History Education. Curriculum Inquiry, 39 (4), 537-554. doi:10.1111/j.1467-873X.2009.00456.x.

Selected Presentations

Other Research Outputs

Farley, L.; Sonu, D.; Garlen, J. & Chang-Kredl, S. (2022, July). Nostalgia for Childhoods of the Past Overlooks Children's Experiences TodayThe Conversation, Canada.

Farley, L.; Sonu, D.; Garlen, J. & Chang-Kredl, S. (2022, September). La Nostalgie de l'Enfance Occulte les Experiences des Enfants D'Aujord'hui. The Conversation, Canada. [Translation.]

Farley, L.; Sonu, D.; Garlen, J. & Chang-Kredl, S. (2021, April). How Teachers Remember their own Childhoods Affects how they Challenge School Inequities. The Conversation, Canada.

Farley, L.; Sonu, D.; Garlen, J. & Chang-Kredl, S. (2021, May). Les Souvenirs d'Enfance des Enseignants Influent sur leur Maniere de Lutter Contre Inegalities Scolaires. The Conversation, Canada. [Translation.] 

Research Projects

Psychosocial Transformations: The School, The Clinic, and The Archive

Role: Principal Investigator

Amount funded: $24,784

Year Funded: 2024

Duration: 1

Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

Psychosocial Transformations: The School, The Clinic, and The Archive is a collaborative, two-day event consisting of graduate student workshops and an interdisciplinary conference that brings together local and international scholars and practitioners to ask what it can mean to change the world from the inside out by questioning how and why people come to know and transform their worlds. Drawing on the field of psychosocial studies, the event spotlights three sites of transformation -- the school, the clinic, and the archive -- to theorize and action meaningful change in the context of educational theory and practice, therapeutic relationships, and social and political thought. Stay tuned for updates as the event planning unfolds with the project's co-applicants, Dr. Jen Gilbert and Dr. Aziz Guzel.

Children's Museums and the Role of Storytelling in Learning from "Difficult Knowledge"

Role: Principal Investigator

Amount funded: $24,962

Year Funded: 2023

Duration: 1

Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

This project partners with the Association of Children's Museums (ACM) to address the challenge of how to represent difficult historical knowledge with children in ways that invite social inquiry and responsibility for a more just present and future. The research team is comprised of 3 university partners in New York, Montreal, and Toronto and 6 collaborators in the US, Canada, and New Zealand. Project findings will support ACM’s commitments to enhance pedagogical practices that address diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in the context of a broader societal call for educational institutions to action obligations to truth and reconciliation and to redress legacies of injustice, colonialism, and racism.

Conceptualizing Childhood in Education: A Multi-Site Study of Memories, Artefacts, and Cultural Tropes

Role: Principal Investigator

Amount funded: $60,733

Year Funded: 2018

Duration: 2

Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

This project was a collaboration across four universities (York, Carleton, Concordia, and CUNY). The research investigated how childhood memory affects educators’ understandings of their role in educating children today, and examined themes of school surveillance, children's nuisance-making and agencies, childhood innocence, and adult nostalgia. Our intent was to explore how educators may use childhood memories to notice repetitions of their own projected experiences and to analyze the impact of school systems and social inequities on children's subjectivities.

Spaces of Memory: Between Tangible Relics and Internal Objects in Learning from the Past

Role: Principal Investigator

Amount funded: $61,111

Year Funded: 2009

Duration: 3

Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

The project was both a theoretical investigation and archival study of clinical efforts to support children’s representations of emotional and social conflict in a time of war (The Wellcome Library, London, UK). The research explored the visual qualities of memory, the meaning and limits of historical empathy, the ethical qualities of witnessing, the interpretive work of representing history, and the role of mourning in teaching and learning from loss.


  • Outstanding Book Award, Curriculum Studies Division B of AERA - 2020
  • Critics' Choice Book Award, American Educational Studies Association - 2019
  • York Research Leader, York University - 2019
  • York Research Leader, York University - 2020
  • Professor of Curriculum, Professors of Curriculum Honorary Society - 2022

Professional Affiliations

York University Affiliations/Cross Appointments