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.
Prologue—Origins and Foundations
Curriculum as Spaces: Aesthetics, Community, and the Politics of Place (Curriculum as Spaces) is grounded in recent theoretical thinking on communities, cosmopolitanism, and aesthetics as they pertain to the field of education, broadly, and curriculum more specifically. Over the past several decades, a restrictive narrative that places assessment, accountability, and measurement at the fore have gained favor as the means to rectify the supposed deficiencies of education even as educational theorists have drawn attention to the need for pedagogies of place (Callejo Perez, Fain, & Slater, 2004), pedagogies that question the prevalence of “acquisitiveness” (Schubert, 2009), and the necessity of conversations that are challenging and complex rather than reductive (Pinar, 2001). We argue, in various ways and voices, that education is not a depoliticized act or theory that is of little consequence to communities and to people. Rather, in response to an increasing displacement of curriculum from the locality to the federal level, we propose an ecological design to curriculum in which education becomes more than rote memorization of isolated facts. More specifically, we seek to re-centered curriculum on the common experiences of communities and the individuals who inhabit them. Although not specifically addressed within this work, Curriculum as Spaces places John Dewey’s naturalistic philosophy, in which he questions the ← xi | xii → static models of interaction that deny interconnectedness between organisms and the environment they inhabit, into dialog with the work of Jean-Luc Nancy (2001/2002) who imagined that communities are built upon a contingent being together that creates...
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