Academic journal article Journal of Curriculum Theorizing

Popular Culture's Hope and Our Engagement with Science in a Faltering Democracy

Academic journal article Journal of Curriculum Theorizing

Popular Culture's Hope and Our Engagement with Science in a Faltering Democracy

Article excerpt

Paul was my student. Like any good student, Paul has developed his own identity as an academic. He has taken Michel Serres' words to heart when the French philosopher/scientist wrote that "formerly, the slave who took the noble child to school was called a pedagogue. Hermes also went along, sometimes, as a guide. The little one leaves the family home; departure--second birth. All learning demands this voyage with the other toward alterity. During this passage, lots of things change" (Serres, 1997, p. 48). Paul's wondering voyage takes him through the mind, popular music, and film. Yet, his voyage takes him back home too. I too am on a voyage, seeking passages, and, when not found, making passages. It is in this process of making passages that I have met Paul again. We both have arrived in a world dominated by science. One cannot swallow a pill, suffer an illness, watch a film, listen to a CD, or walk down a high school hallway and not see how science is forever present in our bodies and minds.

As much as science dominates the world what is most prominent is our lack of engagement with science. This absence has created numerous crises that many in the world fail to recognize. The most pronounced is a crisis of values and priorities. Chris Gray in his typical succinct manner highlights this crisis when he wrote "Every year millions of interventions are performed to suck out or insert fat, carve better facial features, modify the immune system, or otherwise "improve" someone's buttocks while others die for lack of better care" (Gray, 2001, p.70). Why is someone's reconstructed ass more important in our society than basic health care? Why is the space shuttle more of a priority than starving people throughout the world? Why is artificial intelligence projects at MIT easily funded but programs to work with real youth are often underfunded? …

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