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Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

Roger Simon standing in a doorway, smiling.

Roger I. Simon


Professor Emeritus Roger I. Simon died on September 17, 2012. Roger taught at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto OISE for more than 40 years, the last decade in the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education. He served for several years as Director of the Centre for Media and Culture in Education and was a founder of the Critical Pedagogy and Cultural Studies Forum. He retired in July 2010.

Roger had a profound impact on those who were fortunate to learn and work with him. His research interests spanned a wide range over his career and he was the Principal Investigator of, and collaborator in, several research projects.  Roger was a formidable scholar and intellectual, whose work invites us to think through very difficult and compelling questions.  Yet, beyond his erudition there was a warmth and generosity that anyone who worked closely with Roger felt.  During his years at OISE Roger took time to nurture conditions that created a rich and deep intellectual environment, spaces where people could probe questions, try out ideas, challenge themselves and others. He was a scholar who enabled the creation of a public culture of inquiry and of thought. This, his many publications and his many graduates, are his legacy. In November 2010 a group of colleagues and former students organized a three-day conference to present their current work in his honour. This event, named Apres Vous, was attended by more than 100 people. The rich and lively discussions bore witness to the profound impact of Roger Simon’s teaching, mentorship and research

Roger published broadly on critical approaches to culture and education. His research over the last twenty years of his life addressed questions of the pedagogical and ethical dimensions of practices of cultural memory, particularly as this applies to the remembrance of mass systemic violence. Following his retirement from teaching at the University of Toronto Roger continued to publish work on issues of remembrance and the development of historical consciousness. This writing and research was devoted to exploring the intersections of social and political theory, cultural practice, and public pedagogy.