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.
The Journey Ahead: Our Radical Ontological Calling as Curriculum Scholars Our call for considering curriculum as space is predicated upon certain expectations for that space. To the degree that space provides opportuni- ties for authentic existential and intellectual journeys, then curriculum as space supports currere. Yet, in the heterotopia of educational reform, we must acknowledge the role of power in producing contested spaces in which teach- ers, students, and communities themselves must exist. As such, we must seek justice alongside authenticity. Our work is always political. Our work is always moral (Dewey, 1959; Pinar, 2001; Purpel & McLaurin, 2004). Throughout this book we have attempted to create Foucault’s heterotopic mirror, drawing you into a complicated conversation situated between reality and the ideal. However, unlike some theoretical texts, we have challenged you to engage—to act upon your discomfort. We ask that you let go of your fears, anxieties, assumptions, and your need for control in order to enter into yet unknown spaces as part of a collective body. This requires the equivalent of a full-moon ritual of release and renewal. Burke (2001) describes this release as she chronicles her experience helping her partner Joan die. She shares, 102 curriculum as spaces Joan’s and my last dance together spun her into a spiral of light and back into the arms of the universe. It pushed me into a contemplative and reflective time, feeling the enormous loss while sensing her amazing liberation. She accepted death as a transformation and a rebirthing process. Our...
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