H. James Garrett


My research examines the emotional and affective dimensions of learning, teaching, and learning to teach social studies, particularly when those topics involve the intensities of violence, loss, upheaval, and injustice. I’m most interested in the ways that people make a relationship with with they know, so that the questions I ask are often not about “what’ is known, but instead on “how” that knowledge lands for people. Does it make us excited? Angry? Emboldened? Embarrassed? Even though a full learning about the past or present involves encountering often jarring or unsettling information, my research supports a direct engagement with, rather than avoidance of, this emotional terrain.

I received my PhD in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education from Michigan State University in 2010, and prior to that taught high school social studies. I’ve been at the University of Georgia since 2010, with the exception of the 2019-2020 academic year when I was on professional leave from UGA to be a Visiting Associate Professor of Social Studies Education at Teachers College Columbia University.

Areas of Expertise

  • Curriculum Theory
  • Teacher Education
  • Social Studies Education


  • Psychoanalytic Theory in Education
  • Emotion and Affect in Teaching and Learning
  • News Media Literacy
  • Democracy Education



  •  PhD in Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education, 2010
    Michigan State University


 706-542-4194 (office)

Research Summary

Jim’s research centers the emotional demands of learning and teaching about the social world, particularly when that learning has to do with trauma, crisis, or vulnerability. He has published research about white students’ resistance to learning about race, the uses and potential of literature to attend to complications of learning to teach, and about the ways that aesthetic texts can be useful in difficult learning spaces. Currently, he is studying the circulation of affect and emotion during classroom discussions of current socio/political issues such as gun violence, race, and immigration. and also collaborates on a research team investigating social studies teachers’ understandings and use of news media in their pedagogies. His book, Learning to be in the World with Others: Difficult Knowledge & Social Studies Education, was published in 2017 by Peter Lang.


Conceptualizing Emotion in Political Discussions in Classrooms
A growing body of research from political science shows how political thinking is a surprisingly emotional endeavor. People are shown time and time again to dismiss evidence that counters existing beliefs. Rather than revise political views, people will resist accommodating facts that do not support their beliefs. This is shown to occur at all levels of education and across party lines. In light of recent political tumult across western democracies, the role of emotion and affect in politics has received increased public attention. In this study, Jim Garrett investigates the emotional and affective features of classroom discussions of political issues. While existing research in civics and social studies education substantiates the value of classroom discussions of political issues, little attention has been given to the less rational but crucial aspects of political life that are governed by feelings, even those that are difficult to express. Through interview, observation, and video-cued focus group discussions, Dr. Garrett will construct a conceptual framework for accommodating – though not correcting or dismissing – the emotional aspects of facilitating discussions about political issues in classrooms. Findings will directly contribute to research literature on democracy education, civics, social studies, and teacher education.



Learning to be in the world with others: Difficult knowledge and social studies education.
  • H. James Garrett
  • Peter Lang


Position students for political discussions: Attending to the mode of address.
  • McAnulty, J., & Garrett, H.J
  • The Journal of Social Studies Research
Teaching and learning news media in politically unsettled times
  • Garrett, H.J, Schmeichel, M., McAnulty, J., & Janis, S
  • Pedagogies: An International Journal, 16(1), 44-
Exploring the emotional dynamics of a political discussion.
  • Garrett, H.J., & Alvey, E
  • Theory and Research in Social Education, 49(1)
Containing classroom discussions of current social and political issues.
  • Garrett, H.J
  • Journal of Curriculum Studies, 52(3), 337-355
Accommodating emotion and affect in political discussions in classrooms.
  • Garrett, H.J., Segall, A., Crocco, M.
  • The Social Studies, 111(6), 312-323
Social studies teacher perceptions of news source credibility
  • Clark, C., Schmeichel, M., Garrett H.J
  • Educational Researcher, 49(4), 262-272