Mary Jeanne (M.J.)  Barrett

    Dr. Mary Jeanne (M.J.)  Barrett

    Assistant Professor

    Research areas

    Human-nature relations; multiple ways of knowing (epistemology) in environmental decision-making; intersections among intuition, animism and indigenous knowledges; outdoor and experiential education; ecological identity/subjectivity; qualitative and decolonizing methodologies; and energetic medicine and healing practices

    Curriculum Vitae

    Graduate Student Employment Opportunity

    *** I am seeking a doctoral student to work on a SSHRC grant which will develop, pilot test, and evaluate a series of five innovative educational modules for non-Indigenous graduate students, faculty, and practicing environmental professionals. The project aim is to create a shared ethical space that supports the inclusion of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledges in addressing complex environmental problems. A background in educational design, critical race theory, and experiential learning is preferred ***

    Graduate Teaching Focus:
    • Human-Land relations and sense of place
      • How do limitations in our ways of knowing affect human relations with and treatment of the environment?
    • Ecological identity/subjectivity
      • What kinds of identities/subjectivities are not permissible in academic and other Western cultural contexts?
    • Decolonizing research practices
      • What does this mean for both researcher and the study participants?
    • Shifting colonial and other limiting discourses
      • How do we 'escape from' the debilitating effects of colonialism and other oppressive discourses?
    • Effects of epistemology and worldview on research methodology and methods
      • What is the role of method(ology) and representation in generating knowledge through multiple ways of knowing?
    • Research representation
      • What is the role of research representation in what and how we can know?

    photo of latchphotography copyright cherie westmoreland

    Through methodology, method and the twinned acts of research/representation, "one form of knowing can be used to trouble another" (Davies, 2000b, p. 169).


    To do this work requires being open to "the insights claimed by those whose stories we do not share" (Gough & Reid, 2000, p. 54), keeping in mind "what we have not thought to think," (Lotz-Sisitka, 2002, p. 118) and being willing to "disrupt the frameworks we traditionally use to make sense of the world and ourselves" (Kumashiro, 2001, p. 5).

    Graduate Courses:

    ENVS 811: Multiple Ways of Knowing in Environmental Decision-Making
    EDFT 898: Introduction to Research Methods: Epistemology, Ontology, Methodology and Methods
    ENVS 804: Decision-making for Environment and Sustainability

    Undergraduate Courses:

    ECUR 382: Social Studies Methods (Elementary)
    ECUR 322: Science Methods (Elementary, Indian Teacher Education Program)

    UndergraduateTeaching Focus:

    • Community as classroom (where community includes both human and more-than-human world)
      • How can educators disrupt the anthropocentric nature of public school education?
    • Indigenous ways of knowing (i.e. an animist worldview)
      • How can a learner come to understand a worldview that may be different from their own?
    • Identity
      • How can educators of many kinds open spaces for expression of marginalized identities (and ways of knowing)?
    • Critical and creative thinking
      • How can educators help students think "outside the box" when the box is often made for thinking within it?


    Gough, S., & Reid, A. (2000). Environmental education research as profession, as science, as art and as a craft: Implications for guidelines in qualitative research. Environmental Education Research, 6(1), 47-57.

    Kumashiro, K. (2001). "Posts" perspectives on anti-oppressive education in social studies, english, mathematics, and science classrooms. Educational Researcher, 30(3), 3-12.

    Lotz-Sistka, H. (2002). Weaving cloths. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 7(2), 101-124.

    Current Research projects:

    • Creating a shared ethical space in Indigenous/non-Indigenous environmental co-management
    • Encounters with the living world: Indigenous knowledges and natural resource Management (SSHRC, Principal Investigator)
    • Traditional and local knowledge of wildlife in changing environments: Enhancing research methods and improving uptake in decision-making (SSHRC Collaborator)
    • Removing the invisibility cloak: The impact of professional schools of education and social work on the lives of Aboriginal children and youth through their instructional and curricular choices (SSHRC Collaborator)
    • Teaching multiple ways of knowing in a Western academy
    • Engaging Indigenous Worldviews in Teaching Social Studies

    Other areas of interest:

    Human-nature relations, decolonizing research; ways of knowing, Indigenous knowledges and Aboriginal education, intuition, interspecies ethics, environmental sustainability, poststructural theory,arts-based inquiry; outdoor education; energy healing; creativity; curriculum critique, experiential education.

    As Lotz-Sisitka (2002) reminds me, I must pay attention to"what is most densely invested in our discourses and practice, and about what has been muted or repressed and gone unheard in representations of our practice” (p. 118).


    Dissertation short-listed for Canadian Association of Curriculum Studies, Dissertation Award American Educational Research Association, Outstanding Dissertation Award (Research Methodology). 

    Scholarly Activities

    Publications | Artistic Work | Presentations | Other Presentations & Guest Lecture Titles

    Publications (selected):

    Barrett, M.J. (in press) Researching through porosity: A study of animism and research methodology. In G. Harvey (Ed.). Handbook of Contemporary Animism. Leiden, Netherlands: E.J. Brill

    Barrett, M.J. (in press). Researching with the other-than-human: Epistemological diversity in environmental education research. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education.

    Barrett, M.J., Hart, P., & Sutter, G. (2008). Engaging students and challenging culture. In M. Mayer, J. Johannes Tschapka, Engaging youth in sustainable development: Learning and teaching sustainable development in lower secondary schools, (pp. 18-21). Brussels, Belgium: Environment and the Schools Initiative.

    Barrett, M.J., Hart, P., Nolan, K., & Sammel, A.  (2005). Challenges in implementing action-oriented sustainability education. Handbook of Sustainability Research (pp. 505-534). New York: Peter Lang. (refereed).

    Barrett, M.J. (2007). Homework and fieldwork: Investigations into the rhetoric-reality gap in environmental research and pedagogy. Environmental Education Research, 13(2), 209-223.

    Barrett, M.J. (2006). Education for the environment: Action competence, becoming, and story. Environmental Education Research, 12(3-4), 503-512.

    Barrett, M.J., & Sutter, G. (2006). A youth forum on sustainability meets the Human Factor Gallery: Stretching science teachers, students and museums. Canadian Journal of Science, Math and Technology Education, 6(1), 9-24.

    Barrett, M.J. (2005). Making (some) sense of feminist poststructuralism in environmental education research and practice. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 10,  62-78.

    Hart, P., Barrett, M.J., Schnack, K., Dyment, J., Taylor, J., & Clark, C. (2004). Reflections on the 7th Invitational Seminar on Research and Development in Health and Environmental Education: Anchorage, Alaska, USA, October 2003. Environmental Education Research.

    Raffan, J., &  Barrett, M.J. (1989). Sharing the path: Reflections on journals from an expedition. Journal of Experiential Education, 12(2), 29-36.

    Artistic Work:

    Barrett, M.J. (2008). Sticks in Hockley. Poetry. Ecojustice Review.
    Barrett, M.J. (2007) to speak…. Cover artwork/poetry Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 12
    Barrett, M.J. (2007). meLand. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 12, pp. 183-184. (Artist Statement).

    Presentations (selected):

    Barrett, M.J. (2011, June). Redefining community as all our relations: A path to a decolonizing teaching practice. Paper presented at Society for teaching and learning in higher education annual conference. Saskatoon, SK.

    Barrett, M.J. (2011, June). Multiple knowledge systems and environmental decision-making: Making a difference in graduate teaching. Paper presented at Environmental Education and Communication, Annual Meeting, Regina, SK.

    Barrett, M.J. (2011, April). Researching through an animist epistemology: Barriers to environmental education research ‘in connection’ with Animate Earth. American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. New Orleans, MS

    Barrett, M.J. (2011, April). An arts-based approach to an old epistemology: Researching with Animate Earth. New Orleans, MS

    Barrett, M.J. (2008, June 10). Energetic transformation: Yuen Method Healing. Psychology 496AS: Transpersonal approach to healing trauma. June 10, 2008. Luther College, University of Regina.

    Barrett, M.J. (2008, Jan.). Representing the non-human in research. 2nd International Conference of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture. Morelia, Mexico.

    Barrett, M.J. (2008, March). Ecological identity and Aboriginal education. Research In Motion Seminar Series. University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK.

    Barrett, M.J. (2007). Research representation coming to know: Representing the Other in environmental education research.  Stellenbosch University Faculty of Education, Stellenbosch, South Africa.

    Barrett, M.J. (2007, Nov.). Poststructuralism, Quantum Physics and Spiritual Practices: Epistemology and Ontology Revisited, Part II. 5th Annual Research Symposium, North American Association for Environmental Education, Virginia Beach, SC.

    Barrett, M.J. (2007, May). Are we undermining engaged citizenship? Canadian Society for the Study of Education, Saskatoon, SK.

    Barrett, M.J. (2007, March). Researching through the quantum world: Epistemology and ontology revisited. 9th Invitational Seminar on Research and Development in Environmental and Health Education. Monte Verita, Switzerland.

    Barrett, M.J. & White, P. (2006, November). Representation and ways of knowing: Troubling the intertext. 4th Annual Research Symposium, North American Association for Environmental Education, Minneapolis, MN.

    Barrett, M.J. (2006, July). Disturbing discourse: Can students ‘connect with’ nature? 3rd International Outdoor Education Research Conference, Penrith, UK.

    Barrett, M.J. (2006, May). Dissertation as a (de)disciplining practice. Canadian Society for the Study of Education. Toronto, ON.

    McKenzie, M., Barrett, M.J., & Russell, C., Timmerman, N. (2006, May). Discursive approaches to teaching and learning about social issues: Collaborative research on the experiences of beginning teachers and teacher educators. Canadian Society for Studies in Education. Toronto, ON.

    Sutter, G. C., & Barrett, M.J.  (2005, November).  Educational processes that probe values and catalyze action: A new role for museums?  Society for Human Ecology Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, UT.

    Barrett, M.J. (2005, October) Troubling stories: Engaging poststructuralism and narrative inquiry. 3rd Annual Research Symposium, North American Association for Environmental Education Albuquerque, NM.

    Barrett, M.J. (2005, October). Does nature disappear? Poststructural research and environmental education. 3rd Annual Research Symposium, North American Association for Environmental Education, Albuquerque, N.M.

    Barrett, M.J. (2005, October). What’s holding us back: Interrogating teaching contradictions. 34th Annual Conference, North American Association for Environmental Education, Albuquerque, NM.

    Elliot, D., Sutter, G., Barrett, M.J., & Nolan, K. (2004, November). Working towards community sustainability through youth action projects. SchoolPlus Congress, Regina, SK.

    Elliot, D., Sutter, G., Barrett, M.J., Tuharsky, J., & Braumberger, D. (2004, November). Creating school-community partnerships to address local sustainability issues. Keeping our Roots Alive: Education for action! Saskatchewan Community Schools Association Conference. Saskatoon, SK.

    Barrett, M.J. (2006, October). Research as disciplinary practice: Could it be Undermining Engaged Citizenship. Saskatchewan Instructional Development Research Unit, University of Regina, Regina, SK.

    Sutter, G. & Barrett, M.J. (2003, October). Education for action: Examining the experiences and thinking of participants in a Youth Forum on Sustainability. Technology Research Forum, University of Regina and Regina Regional Development Authority. Regina, SK.

    Barrett, M.J. (2003, October). Choosing methodological and theoretical frameworks: How do they enable and constrain? 7th Invitational Seminar on Environmental and Health Education Research, Anchorage, AK.

    Barrett, M.J. (2003, October). EE research directions: Dwelling in the generative space of situated and intersubjective knowledges. 7th Invitational Seminar on Environmental and Health Education Research, Anchorage, AK. Closing address.

    Barrett, M.J., & Russell, C. (2002, November). Secondary school integrated environmental studies programs in Ontario. 30th Annual International Conference in Outdoor and Experiential Education, St. Paul, MN.

    Barrett, M.J. (2002, May). Student resistance to action research. 9th Annual Conference of the Environmental Studies Association of Canada. Toronto, ON.

    Barrett, M.J. (2001, July). Student involvement in community action research projects. Annual Meeting of EECOM, The Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication, Whitehorse, YK.

    Barrett, M.J. (2001, July). Schools and community merge: A model for working together on local sustainability projects. Annual Meeting of EECOM, The Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication, Whitehorse, YK.

    Other Presentation and Guest Lecture Titles (selected):

    Intuition, creativity, and discourse: Addressing cultural differences in knowing in higher education
    Indigenous perspectives in environmental decision-making
    Epistemology and environmental practice
    Multiple ways of knowing: Implications for research & its representation
    How can we know? Uncovering epistemological bias in environmental decision-making
    When toads cannot speak: Research & representation beyond the human
    Getting to the heart of the matter:  How our ecological identify informs our life as educators
    Arts-based Research and Possibilities of Epistemological Difference
    Engaging Feminist Poststructuralism: Implications for Research Questions.   
    Engaging the ‘Posts’ in Research
    Implications of a Theoretical Lens on Research Decisions
    Narrative Inquiry in the Field
    Paralysis or possibility: examining the role of culture in environmental education.
    Problematizing Research Representation and Ways of Knowing in the Academy.  
    Action and Resistance: Student Responses to Action-oriented Environmental Education
    Action-Oriented Environmental Education
    Regina’s Youth Forum on Sustainability
    Integrated Outdoor/Environmental Education Programs & Curriculum Design
    Implementing Integrated Outdoor/environmental Education Programs for High School