Academic journal article JCT (Online)

Do We Want Something New or Just Repetition of 1492? Engaging with the "Next" Moment in Curriculum Studies

Academic journal article JCT (Online)

Do We Want Something New or Just Repetition of 1492? Engaging with the "Next" Moment in Curriculum Studies

Article excerpt

Trekking Through Curriculum

Bus thi-yu, mane bolvadee...Bus, amaro waq-at avigayo che... Allow me speak my mother tongue before they take my language as well....... I am your scorpion, your displaced non-human-other...You don't feel our writing...our thinking...and our knowing. But let me break it to you...they exist....You long ago forgot.... but our breaths are our signs... Our signs that we were here, we are here and we will remain here...

AMMA WAS IN her luscious, green, serene home in Bangalore, India, when she was called upon by a group of women who were mud movers. In the process of moving mud, digging ditches, and creating mud buns, the mud movers had found black scorpions, little ones and big ones, and they called Amma and said, "look." "They're scorpions," Amma said, we had European visitors that were present at that moment, and upon witnessing this they said/asked, "Now you're going to kill them aren't you? How are you going to get rid of them?" One of the mud movers, a woman, said, "No, it's a family." She scooped the scorpions up in a plastic bottle and took them carefully away to a farther place, where there was a bush, and let them be there, to live and exist, informed by the teachings of Vasudhiava Kutumbakam. The English language is inadequate to articulate the philosophy of Vasudhiava Kutumbakam but, simply put, it means 'earth family'-where the human can never be separated from the non-human because as Indian cosmology understands this relationship, they exist in a continuum, a dialectic of existence.

As a doctoral student in Curriculum Studies, I struggle daily with feelings of belonging and non-belonging, placeness and placelessness. When I look to the academic stories that we are exposed to and expected to deconstruct as curriculum scholars, I have often felt and still continue to feel fragmentation in what I am reading as I relate them to the teachings of Vasudhiava Kutumbakam, taught to me by the elders in my family and community. These feelings first emerged when we were given the curricular "list" of readings that discussed the historical and philosophical antecedents of curriculum studies in a course entitled "Foundations of Curriculum Studies." As I read Ralph Tyler, Franklin Bobbit, John Dewey, Jerome Bruner, and others, I experienced an unenthusiastic physical reaction to their words and ideas on education, as they fundamentally contradicted the dialectic relationship between learners and the earth. Perhaps because their notions of teaching, learning and knowing were associated primarily with the reproduction of social hierarchies through models of efficiency and democratic nation-building in order to anchor capitalism-a logic of white supremacy-in place.

Throughout my journey of critique and resistance, my alienation grew further as my peers (primarily teachers) all seemed to relate their practice to these theories. To provide some ease to my alienation, one of my professors said "it would get better"; however, even after moving to the works of scholars that fall under the reconceptualization moment, I still continued to have a profound feeling of uneasiness, confusion, and non-belonging. Yet, I did not have the words to articulate and describe what this actually meant. I soon became anxious because while I was present I was simultaneously absent. As such, I wondered how long I would last. I wondered: will I be gotten rid of, like the European visitors proposed for the black scorpions, or will I find the mud movers, here in curriculum studies? I forged through the readings and the discussion, but continued to wonder about this fragmentation and what was missing. Was something actually missing? Was this something missing deliberately meant to be absent? A year after this moment, I encountered this type of "list" again, with those same readings and more; except, this time the "list" was entitled the Curriculum Canon Project.

The Canon project's leadership was proposed at the Ohio Curriculum Summit in 2007. …

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