Professor of Education, Faculty of the Critical Theory Designated Emphasis

Zeus Leonardo has published numerous articles and book chapters on critical social thought in education. His articles have appeared in Educational Researcher; Race, Ethnicity, and Education; Teachers College Record; and Educational Philosophy and Theory. Some of his essays include: "Critical Social Theory and Transformative Knowledge," "The Souls of White Folk," "The Color of Supremacy," "Schooling in Racist America," "Smartness as Property" (with Alicia Broderick), and "Dis-orienting Western Knowledge." His most recent books are Edward Said and Education; Education and Racism, 2nd ed (with W.N. Grubb); and Race Frameworks: A Multidimensional Theory of Racism and Education.

Professor Leonardo's current research interests involve the study of ideologies and discourses in education with respect to structural relations of power. Much of his work is interdisciplinary and draws insights from sociology, contemporary philosophy, and cultural studies. In particular, he engages critical theories to inform his analysis of the relationship between schooling and social relations, such as race, class, culture, and gender. His research is informed by the premise that educational knowledge should promote the democratization of schools and society. He is an Affiliated Faculty Member of the Critical Theory Designated Emphasis at UC Berkeley. He is an AERA Fellow, a Derrick Bell Legacy Awardee, and a member of the National Academy of Education.


Recent Books

Leonardo, Z. (2020). Edward Said and Education. New York: Routledge.
Leonardo, Z. and Grubb, W. N. (2018). Education and Racism. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.
Leonardo, Z. (2014). Race Frameworks: A Multidimensional Theory of Racism and Education. New York: Teachers College Press.
Recent Articles and Book Chapters

Ovid, D. and Leonardo, Z. (2022). She blinded me with science: Post-curriculum and the new scientific education. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 37(2), 1-17.

Leonardo, Z. (2022). Schooling in racist America: Critical class theories and critical race theories in education. In P. Groves Price (Ed.), Race and Education (pp. 1-16). Oxford University Press.

Leonardo, Z. (2020). The Trump presidency, post-colorblindness, and the reconstruction of public race speech. In O. Obasogie (Ed.), Trumpism and its Discontents (pp. 18-37). Berkeley Public Policy Press. Free access at

Leonardo, Z. and Sacramento, J. (2020). Decolonizing educational knowledge through ethnic studies. In A. Dixson, G. Ladson-Billings, J. Anderson, W. Trent, and C. Suarez (Eds.), Condition or a Process?: Researching Race in Education (pp. 149-171). AERA.

Leonardo, Z. and Gamez-Djokic (2019). Sometimes leaving means staying: Race and white teachers’ emotional investments. Teachers College Yearbook121(13), 1-22.

Leonardo, Z. (2018). Dis-orienting western knowledge: Coloniality, curriculum and crisis. The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology, 36(2), 7-20.

Leonardo, Z. (2018). Dis-orienting western knowledge: Coloniality, curriculum and crisis. The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology, 36(2), 7-20.

Harris, A. and Leonardo, Z. (2018). Intersectionality, race-gender subordination, and education. Review of Research in Education, 42, 1-27.

Broderick, A. and Leonardo, Z. (2016). What a good boy: The deployment and distribution of “goodness” as ideological property in schools. In D. Connor, B. Ferri, and S. Annamma (Eds.), DisCrit: Critical Conversations Across Race, Class, & Dis/ability (pp. 55-67). Teachers College Press.

Leonardo, Z. (2016). Tropics of whiteness: Metaphor and the literary turn in White Studies. Whiteness and Education, 1(1), 3-14.

Leonardo, Z. (2015). Contracting race: Writing, racism, and education. Critical Studies in Education, 56(1), 86-98.

Interests and Professional Affiliations

Cultural Studies

Democratic Education


Ethnic Issues


Multicultural Education

Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory, UC Berkeley

Member and Fellow, American Educational Research Association (AERA)

Lifetime Member, Critical Studies of Race in Education Association (CRSEA)

Member, National Academy of Education (NAEd)


PhD, UCLA, Education

BA, UCLA, English



School of Education
Berkeley Way West Building (BWW)
UC Berkeley
2121 Berkeley Way
Berkeley, CA 94720-1670