Dr David Mills

David Mills is Associate Professor in Pedagogy and the Social Sciences in the Department of Education.

His research interests in higher education include doctoral education, research ‘capacity-building’, and African university cultures. David is also Director of the ESRC Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership. His published monographs include Ethnography and Education (2013), and Difficult Folk: A Political History of Social Anthropology (2008).

David’s research students use ethnographic methods to explore everyday educational practices and learning cultures. He welcomes enquiries from prospective students.

Recent DPhil completions:

  • Soufia Siddiqui (2017) Learning about ‘real’ Pakistan: how secondary students reinterpret citizenship education at an elite school in Lahore
  • Zainab Kabba (2017) The Education of American Muslims: Knowledge and Authority in Intensive Islamic Learning Environments
  • Hem Borker (2016), Educational Journeys and Everyday Aspirations: Making of Kamil Momina in a Girls’ Madrasa
  • Jason Todd (2017) Social Remembering and Children’s historical consciousness
  • Yang, Peidong (2014) “Foreign Talent”: Desire and Singapore’s China Scholars
  • Mahmoud Natout (2014) Between ‘prophet’ and ‘professional’: imagery and identification amongst beginning teachers in Lebanon

Current DPhil supervisees

  • Luke Buckley, writing about disciplinary regimes in an East London school
  • Chloe Walker, working on Kenyan students and shadow essay writing
  • Laura Brace, writing on navigational technologies of aspiration in an elite girls’ school
  • Emma Abotsi, working on transnational Ghanaian families and education  
  • Robyn Sneath, working on the history of Mennonite education in Canada
  • Shungmiao Han, working on Chinese Higher Education policy experiments.
  • Isaac Calvert, writing about the sacredness of Jewish pedagogy.
  • Natasha Robinson, working on South African education.


  • Department staff

College affiliation

  • Kellogg College


  • Associate Professor in Pedagogy and the Social Sciences

Subject area

  • Foundations of Educational Research
  • MSc Education (Higher Education)
  • Professional and Personal Research Skills
  • Qualitative Design and Data Analysis

Research groups

  • Comparative and International Education
  • Higher Education