Paula Allman, 1944-2011

December 1, 2011

Through her work in adult education and her force of personality, Paula Allman was "revered by those who dream of and work towards ushering in a better world".

Born on 17 January 1944 in Chicago, Dr Allman was a champion swimmer as a child before injury forced her to retire from the sport. She taught at a variety of levels before turning to academia, studying for her doctorate at Florida Atlantic University.

In 1973, Dr Allman came to the UK for the first time on a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Nottingham.

She went on to work for The Open University, where she was social science staff tutor for the East Midlands region.

Dr Allman retained her links to Nottingham, and became honorary research fellow in its School of Continuing Education.

Entwined with her academic life were Dr Allman's political leanings. A scholar of Karl Marx, Paulo Freire and Antonio Gramsci, Dr Allman was very active in social movements. At Nottingham, she was the first co-chair of the city branch of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and also chaired the education subgroup of the Socialist Movement.

Throughout her career, she remained committed to adult education, and her ideas about education and politics can be found in the many books she authored.

These include Revolutionary Social Transformation: Democratic Hopes, Political Possibilities and Critical Education (1999), Critical Education against Global Capitalism: Karl Marx and Revolutionary Critical Education (2001) and On Marx: An Introduction to the Revolutionary Intellect of Karl Marx (2007).

Peter Mayo, professor and head of the department of education studies at the University of Malta, paid tribute to his former colleague: "Paula Allman continues to be revered by those who dream of and work towards ushering in a better world," he said.

"She touched the lives of many people. I was privileged to get to know her personally and to collaborate with her on conference and journal projects, also co-writing a couple of pieces with her."

He added that "like many", he would miss her scholarship and her deep understanding of her academic field.

"I also admired her spirituality," he said. "Above all, I will miss her deep, genuine friendship and her love for humanity and other species, including the pets which shared her space and which she adored. Here was a woman who knew how to love."

Dr Allman died on 2 November from lung cancer. She is survived by her daughter and grandchildren.

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