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 4. Re-Assessing and Re-Capturing Space Through Radical Curriculum
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RE-ASSESSING AND RE-CAPTURING SPACE THROUGH RADICAL CURRICULUM
In his autobiographical sketch of life in Yazoo City, Mississippi, Willie Morris (1971) described it was normal to display proudly equality in spirituality and protest racial equality during the civil rights movement. The spirituality of individuals is in constant conflict as we are pulled violently within the spaces between our perceived needs and reality. Søren Kierkegaard believed that democracy was a key element in this dialogue. “There is a need for singular and social agency in the moment of dissent as much as we require the transgressive corrective during supposedly normal times of identity formation and democratic institutionalization” (Matustik & Westphal, 1995, p. 257). Although fragile and easily submitted to tyranny and power, democratic spaces offer an alternative toward self-liberation that allows for expression and living synchronously. Thus, democratic spaces are a key to overcome the conflict within us about finding a place, and becoming one with society.
In such an attempt, there is a need for a revolutionary self-examination in terms of thought and practice, a revolution in the Freirean (1970) sense, where open discourse helps us understand each other recovering the “mechanistic society” (Ruciman, 1978), where citizens become integral parts of a larger society, and where relationships are intimate and open. What we have proposed in this book is an attempt to understand space. In this case, it will be ← 49 | 50 → accomplished through considering our racial past and approach...
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