Aesthetics, Community, and the Politics of Place
Curriculum as Spaces: Aesthetics, Community, and the Politics of Place can be viewed as a holistic approach to education, conservation, and community development that uses place as an integrating context for learning. It argues that curriculum and place is a much deeper subject, with roots in aesthetics, community, and politics that go beyond the individual and profoundly address the formation of our current belief system.
Despite the unique efforts described in this book to address the curriculum of space, major issues persist in our educational system. First, the rigor of curriculum studies is not usually applied to this complex field that encompasses philosophy, aesthetics, geography, social theory, and history. Second, the conflict caused by studying the place without contextualizing it within the larger social milieu ignores the nuances of our intimately global social network. Third, current responses ignore the uncritical assessment of underrepresented groups within the theoretical landscape. With these problems in mind, Curriculum as Spaces introduces foundational principles that ask us to imagine the full realization of curriculum spaces and show us how to examine the philosophical and cultural roots of these most essential principles.
Chapter 3: Disrupting Our Imagined Communities
· 3 · disrupting our imagined communities The Role of Ritual in Promoting Cosmopolitan Curriculum Communities A Cosmopolitan Encounter: Museo Nacional de Antropología Nearly a decade ago one of us traveled to Mexico City for the American Educational Studies Association annual conference and visited the Museo Nacional de Antropología, the National Museum of Anthropology after hearing that the museum held amazing artifacts spanning the indigenous cultures of Mexico. Each room in the museum houses artifacts from a specific anthropological period including, among others, formative Mesoamer- ica, Mexica/Aztec, Teotihuacan, and Mayan. The museum artifacts include the well-known Piedra del Sol, the Aztec Calendar Stone. The following is a personal account of those experiences: I went to the museum with a clear agenda. I was in search of artifacts that “punctuate the stream of living” (Dewey, 1934a, p. 7). In Art as Expe- rience, Dewey distinguished between the manner in which many of his time separated art from life—putting it on a pedestal or in museums. In contrast, he noted how many in ancient times took such care to create their everyday tools as objects of beauty: 34 curriculum as spaces Domestic utensils, furnishings of tent and house, rugs, mats, jars, pots, bows, and spears were wrought with such delighted care that today we hunt them out and give them places of honor in art museums. Yet in their own time and place, such things were enhancements of the process of everyday life instead of being elevated to a niche apart,...
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