Diane M Hoffman

Diane M. Hoffman

  • Associate Professor
Currently Accepting Ph.D. Students

Office Location

Bavaro Hall 211
PO Box 400265
417 Emmet Street S
Charlottesville, VA 22903


Diane Hoffman is an associate professor and anthropologist of education. She has taught courses in the anthropology of education, comparative education, social foundations of education, multicultural education, globalization childhood and culture, ethnography of education, culture education and global health, among others.

Hoffman has conducted post-doctoral fieldwork in Japan and South Korea, studying constructions of self and other in education and the experiences of Koreans as immigrants in Japan. Her early publications focused on comparisons of ideas about the individual self that underlie education in Japan and the United States. Since 2007, Hoffman has been engaged in research on out-of-school children and youth in Haiti. Traveling nearly every year to that country, she explores the multifaceted experiences of Haitian children and youth who, while denigrated by society and conceptualized as victims of poverty and inegalitarian social arrangements, display enormous resilience and hope in the face of daunting circumstances. She also travels to Haiti regularly to teach the social foundations of education to Haitian undergraduates and to advise Haitian university students on their graduate theses, as well as to deliver seminars for Haitian educators on adapting Freirean critical pedagogy to the Haitian context.

Hoffman has published numerous critical cultural analyses of dominant discourses of culture, diversity, multiculturalism, U.S. parenting ideologies, social emotional learning, and the culture of teaching and learning in U.S. schools. Her work addresses a critical need in scholarship on children and youth in society that highlights the self-directed nature of the informal and nonformal learning that youth engage in. In doing so, she hopes to advance the discourse beyond the dualistic and individualistic reductionism of strengths and deficits approaches to consider how children and youth enact hope as a cultural practice, one that in the end underlies all forms of education in society.


Ph.D., Stanford University, 1986
M.A., Brown University, 1977
B.A., Brown University, 1976

Curriculum Vitae


  • Cultural foundations of education in contemporary societies
  • Constructions of self and other in education
  • Minority identities in educational contexts
  • The larger contexts that condition youths' experiences and the immediate strategies that youth engage in to self-educate in the absence of schooling

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