International Handbook of Curriculum Research

By William F. Pinar | Go to book overview

PREFACE

This international handbook of curriculum research reports on scholarly developments and school curriculum development initiatives worldwide. Thirty-six essays on 29 nations—plus four essays of introduction—provide a panoramic and, for several nations (on which there are multiple essays), an in-depth view of the state of curriculum studies globally. There is, to my knowledge, no other such volume, at least not in English. As a library, personal, and pedagogical resource, I know it will be of use to scholars and students worldwide. This text may usefully serve as a supplemental textbook in general curriculum courses and as the main text in courses devoted exclusively to internationalization, globalization, and curriculum studies. For prospective and practicing teachers in the United States and elsewhere, it contextualizes national school reform efforts. The collection contributes, I trust, to the complicated conversation that is the internationalization of curriculum studies and the formation of a worldwide field.

As this collection testifies, curriculum studies is a field that straddles the divide between contemporary social science and the humanities. Research in the field is sometimes quantitative, often qualitative, sometimes arts-based, and sometimes informed by humanities fields such as philosophy, literary theory, and cultural studies. It is influenced as well by social science fields such as psychology, political and social theory, and, not only in the United States (see, e.g., Ulla Johansson's essay on Sweden, this volume), by interdisciplinary fields such as women's and gender studies and postcolonial studies. I settled on the term research in the title to emphasize, despite its paradigmatic differences, the field's relative unity in the scholarly project of scholarly understanding—a term that includes theoretical as well as practical interests and initiatives.

As the field moves toward formalization within and across national borders, disciplinary infrastructure is being put into place. By the use of that term I intend to draw our intention to the interconnected character of intellectualization and institutionalization. I am thinking not only of those institutions with which we are preoccupied— schools—and how they structure our research; I am thinking of those institutional structures now in place and those we must build to support the academic field of curriculum studies, including professional and scholarly associations and societies, scholarly journals, and conferences, all of which support the intellectual and archival labor necessary for a field of study to come into (self-conscious) being. This interconnected character of our intellectual and institutional work at this stage of the field's development persuaded me, in the introduction, to situate the collection in the current movement toward the internationalization of curriculum studies, institutionalized in the

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