Kay's research traverses the fields of Australian history, history and sociology of education, teacher education and middle schooling. Her main focus is teachers' lives and work. She is particularly interested in historical and contemporary discourses of teaching as a profession, and the ways in which discourses of vocation, career and character interweave in the construction of teacher subjectivity. Her research is underpinned by a commitment to exploring gender, class, age and location as categories of social difference, both historically and in contemporary times.
Kay's current historical research focuses on transnational understandings of early twentieth century teachers in Newfoundland, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. She is also researching the history of early childhood teacher education, especially the life and work of Lillian de Lissa and her students at the Adelaide Kindergarten Training College (1907-1917) and Gipsy Hill Training College (1917-1947).
Australian and New Zealand History of Education Society
Australian Historical Association
Australian Association for Research in Education
Australian Curriculum Studies Association
International Standing Conference for the History of Education
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