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Curriculum as Community Building

The Poetics of Difference, Emergence, and Relationality


Liesa Griffin Smith

Our contemporary historical moment is often characterized by social, political, economic, technological, and educational complexities, as well as lived experiences of estrangement, isolation, insecurity, loss, threat, and trauma. Within this difficult context, conventional understandings of community which often rely upon assimilation or exclusion are devoid of hope, and new imaginations of community and community building are needed to cultivate generative, nurturing, sustaining experiences of life together. Through a multi-threaded exploration of the curriculum as embodied and emerging in a living ecosystem, new conceptualizations of community building may emerge. Drawing upon poststructural feminism, poetics, autobiography, and metaphors of the maternal body, this book explores the complicated intersections of difference, embodiment, emergence, and relationality within the curriculum, to reimagine the possibilities of building the other community, one inclusive of difference. Facing the challenges of our time with hope, grace, and creativity, this book is uniquely positioned in a middle space between the theoretical concerns of the academic community and the needs for accessibility by the practitioner within an instructional context.
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7. Reimagining Curriculum as Community Building


“Devastation reroutes the heart.” (Lewko, 2014, p. 166)

“The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.” (Bonhoeffer, 1939)

“That country that does not exist but that he [the stranger] bears in his dreams, andthat must indeed be called a beyond.” (Kristeva, 1991, p. 5)

When we approach the end of any story, we seek closure and resolution. However, in my theoretical exploration I cannot offer a tidy removal of the threads from the loom, nor neat rows of knots where the warp threads have been tied off, nor the precise hemming of the textile’s final border. Poststructuralism resists the narrative of summation, and is instead concerned with ongoing movement, continual transformation, and continual exploration of the threads as they are further woven into new patterns. For some, this resistance to complete resolution may be frustrating, however I suggest that the perpetual open-endedness may allow for the continual generative reexamination of curriculum, the community, and the living human journey ←189 | 190→of becoming, all of which are also in perpetual change. So, within this final chapter, I hold the tension of the desire to view the finished textile along with the knowledge that my weaving is ongoing and irresolvable. Even now as I begin this conclusion, I see threads that lead in new directions and know full well that there are other threads that are just making themselves visible. Thus, holding...

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