She was Fulbright grantee (1969), Research Assistant at UC Berkeley (1973-74), Research Assistant with the Carnegie Foundation at Yale University (1974), Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley (1995) and Harvard University (2001). She has lectured at the University of Reading (UK), Charles in Prague (CZ) and Amsterdam (NL).
She studies and teaches contemporary educational issues from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective that combines educational theory with methodological and theoretical approaches from the fields of cultural anthropology and anthropology of education. She coordinates research on Italian schools attended by immigrant pupils. Her own ethnographic research has been carried out among Italy’s “internal minorities” such as the Albanian speaking minority of Calabria, the Waldensian religious minority in Piedmont and the occupational minority of travelling fairground and circus people. Her contribution to the understanding of these Italian minority group’s meaning of education and schooling experience is relevant to the widening of the discourse and research on intercultural education, as it questions definitions of multiculturalism and interculture as exclusive results of the migratory flows, underlines the problem of power balance (or lack of it) as a fundamental one for an intercultural perspective and singles out the political as well as educational strategies that foster the idea of a homogeneous national culture while continuing to produce minority culture’s persistence.
Her long standing professional interests in the cultural and social changes obtaining in complex societies (particularly in the North America and in European countries) and in their schools developed first from her studies and research in anthropology of education at UC Berkeley, and it continued with her participation into associations such as the “International Association for Intercultural Education” (IAIE) and the “European Education Research Association” (EERA). She was elected Board member of IAIE in 2005 and 2010. In EERA she was linkperson for the network “Social Justice and Intercultural Education” from 2003 to 2007, and was one of the founding members of the network “Ethnography”.
She was Associate Editor in Chief of Intercultural Education from 2005 to 2007, and again in 2014. She is on the editorial boards of the following journals: Intercultural Education, European Educational Research Journal, Ethnography and Education, and International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning.
Her involvement into educational research at the international level is indicated by her participation into the following Comenius projects:
2007/2009 – DG Education and Culture proposal “Strategies for supporting schools and teachers to foster social inclusion”
2007/2009 – Comenius P7 Multilateral proposal “Teacher In-Service Training for Roma Inclusion” (INSETRom)(134215-2007-IT-COMENIUS-CMP)
2004/2006 – Comenius 2.1 Project entitled Effective teaching and learning for minority-language children in pre-school.
1997/1999 – Comenius 3 Project entitled Cooperative Learning in Intercultural Education in Europe (“CLIP”).
In the field of intercultural education and anthropology of education, she has published Radici e frontiere (Padova, 1992), Pedagogia interculturale (Roma, 2000) and A proposito di intercultura (Padova, 2011). She edited Antropologia dell’educazione (Milano, 1996), Cultura Intercultura (Padova, 1997), La quotidiana diversità (Padova, 1998, with M. Tommaseo Ponzetta), Multiculturalismo e intercultura (Padova, 2003), Etnografia dell’educazione in Europa (Milano, 2003), Etnografia nei contesti educative (Roma, 2003, with A. M. Gomes), Processi educativi nelle società multiculturali (Roma, 2007), La ricerca per una scuola che cambia (Padova, 2007), L’educazione al tempo dell’intercultura (Roma, 2008), Il Cooperative Learning nelle società multiculturali (Milano, 2010), Antropologia e educazione in America Latina (Roma, 2010, with C. Tallé).
In English she edited Social Justice and Intercultural Education (Stoke on Trent, 2007, with Bhatti, Gaine and Leeman). She contributed chapters to the Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education Interculturalism (J. Banks ed., Sage, 2012) , Education and Dialogue (T. Besley & M. Peters eds., Peter Lang, 2012), Anthropologies of education (K. Anderson Levitt ed., Berghahn Books, 2011), Travellers, Nomadic and Migrant Education (P. Danaher, M. Kenny and Leder eds., Routledge 2009), International Handbook on Urban Education (Pink and Noblit eds., Springer, 2007), Transmission of Knowledge as a Problem of Culture and Identity (Kučera, Rochex, Štech eds., The Karolinum Press 2001), Educational Research in Europe, Yearbook 2000 (Day, van Veen eds., Garant 2000), and (with R. Ricucci) to International perspectives on countering school segregation (Bakker, Denessen, Peters, Walraven eds., Garant 2011). She is Section Editor (with Kathryn Anderson-Levitt) for the Smeyers P., Bridges D., Burbules N. C., Griffiths M. Eds., International Handbook of Interpretation in Educational Research Methods, Springer, Dordrecht, 2015 forthcoming, to which she also contributed a chapter (“People ‘of passage’: an intercultural educator’s interpretation of diversity and cultural identity”). She will contribute a chapter to a forthcoming anthology by W. Pink & G. Noblit Eds, Education, Equity and Economy: Studies Toward the Future of Socially Just Education, Springer, forthcoming, and act as Section Editor for Western Europe of the second edition of the W. Pink & G. Noblit Eds., International Handbook on Urban Education, Springer, forthcoming. She has published many articles in international journals.