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Curriculum as Cultural Practice

Curriculum as Cultural Practice: Postcolonial Imaginations

Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 348
  • Book Info
    Curriculum as Cultural Practice
    Book Description:

    Curriculum as Cultural Practiceaims to revitalize current discourses of curriculum research and reform from a postcolonial perspective.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8626-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-30)

    The aim of this book is simple: to contribute to and revitalize current curriculum discourses by bringing together a group of curriculum scholars to imagine, that is, to envision/theorize and discuss curriculum reform and research from the perspective of the emerging and often contentious concept loosely known as the ‘postcolonial.’ Largely as a result of ‘post’ scholarship (e.g., postmodernism, poststructuralism, post-Enlightenment, postcolonialism), the Western prejudice at the core of virtually all education systems operating in the world today has been exposed, provoking curriculum initiatives that deconstruct and challenge the dominance of Western Eurocentrism in curriculum and making possible the theorization...

  5. part 1: Rereading the Disciplines Postcolonially

    • 1 Ideology and Politics in English-Language Education in Trinidad and Tobago: The Colonial Experience and a Postcolonial Critique
      (pp. 33-70)

      Teaching and learning the English language in Trinidad and Tobago became institutionalized when British colonizers permitted missionaries to engage slaves in a measure of schooling in the territory (Gordon, 1963). English-language education came into sharper focus, however, after emancipation in 1834, and the Negro Education Grant approved by the British Crown was a major provision that leveraged language instruction into place (ibid.). Subsequent formalization of the educational system continued during the nineteenth century, and, as the imperial grip on the colony tightened, teaching and learning English assumed even greater significance in the school curriculum (Bacchus, 1990). Pride of place was...

    • 2 To STEAL or to TELL: Teaching English in the Global Era
      (pp. 71-94)

      In 2002, I was living in Edmonton, Alberta, on a short cul-de-sac that bordered the North Saskatchewan River Valley. A Canadian soldier lived with his fiancée across the street in a small house. In the morning, as I wrote by my window, I would watch him as he left for work, a striking lean and muscular figure dressed in camouflage fatigues. Several weeks after 11 September, a taxi driver told me that he had taken the soldier to the airport that very morning to fight in the Afghan war. That's how I learned that my neighbour went to Afghanistan, and...

    • 3 High School Postcolonial: As the Students Ran Ahead with the Theory
      (pp. 95-115)

      Not long ago, I walked into a grade 12 English class in a Vancouver high school as anxious and uncertain as a new teacher showing up at the initial practicum posting. Though away from school teaching for close to two decades, I was about to step up to the front of the room and teach the assembled class what I knew very well in theory but was entirely uncertain about how best to implement over three weeks of daily English classes. This is not, however, the story of my faltering efforts to teach secondary school English. It is rather the...

    • 4 Engaged Differences: School Reading Practices, Postcolonial Literatures, and Their Discontents
      (pp. 116-130)

      In this chapter my focus is the contestatory and hybrid nature of postcolonial literary studies in relation to the intellectual engagement and cultural negotiation of school reading practices and curriculum. I take as a starting point the notion that the postcolonial in Canada appears, as Stephen Slemon points out, ‘not as a single project or hypothesis, but as a set of engaged differences,’ because

      The concept of post-coloniality ... is not one that simply inhabits a text, an individual, or a collective at the level of socialidentity.The not a club that issues memberships, not a state that...

    • 5 A Kinder Mathematics for Nunavut
      (pp. 131-148)

      It isAtauttimut Havaktugut 2003,the time of ‘Learning Together’ for the teachers of the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut, Canada. Politically, Nunavut is Canada’s newest territory, created in 1997, spanning three time zones east to west and reaching from the Manitoba border to the North Pole. With 25,000 inhabitants, 90 per cent of them Aboriginal (Boychuk, 2004), the vastness of Kitikmeot provides a hundred square kilometres for every person. For the teachers gathered in Cambridge Bay for a week of professional development, the outside temperature of minus 40° Celsius is just an inconvenience.

      Halfway through our session on teaching elementary...

  6. Part 2: Indigenous Knowledges as Postcolonial/Anticolonial Resistance

    • 6 Is We Who Haffi Ride Di Staam: Critical Knowledge / Multiple Knowings - Possibilities, Challenges, and Resistance in Curriculum/Cultural Contexts
      (pp. 151-180)

      The intent of this chapter is to pursue a radical analysis and inquiry of educational and curriculum work as it applies to social inequity and exclusionary practices reproduced and sustained through racialized asymmetrical relationships of power. To this end this chapter insists upon a radical contestation of dominant and/or imposing school knowledge discourses and their covert and/or overt claims to cultural supremacy, legitimacy and normalcy. Working though the lens of curriculum as cultural practice, and positioning difference in the form of indigenous knowledges and spirituality as a source of embodied resistance and transformative counter-hegemonic knowledge, the analysis seeks to challenge...

    • 7 Critical Ontology and Indigenous Ways of Being: Forging a Postcolonial Curriculum
      (pp. 181-202)

      Mainstream teacher education provides little insight into the forces that shape teacher identity and consciousness. Becoming educated, becoming a postcolonial teacher-scholar-researcher, necessitates personal transformation based on an understanding and critique of these forces. In this context this chapter develops a notion of critical ontology (ontology is the branch of philosophy that studies what it means to be in the world, to be human) and its relationship tobeinga teacher in light of indigenous knowledges and ontologies. As teachers from the dominant culture explore issues of indigenousness, they highlight both their differences with cultural others and the social construction of...

    • 8 Reappropriating Traditions in the Postcolonial Curricular Imagination
      (pp. 203-222)

      This chapter draws on the Akan concept ofsankofa- meaning ‘return to the past to move forward’ - to theorize curriculum and pedagogy for postcolonial educational contexts in Africa. Sankofa is derived from the Akan people of West Africa, and its literal translation means: ‘retrieving the past is no taboo, thus say the ancestors.’ Sankofa teaches that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward, that is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we can achieve...

    • 9 Cross-Cultural Science Teaching: Rekindling Traditions for Aboriginal Students
      (pp. 223-248)

      Canadian science educators find themselves in a fairly unusual position. Knowingly or unknowingly, they stand between two diverse knowledge systems: Western and Aboriginal ways of describing and explaining nature. On the one hand, a Western-scientific perspective on nature harmonizes with the worldview of science educators (Cobern, 2000), while on the other, Aboriginal perspectives likely do not harmonize with a science teacher’s point of view (Aikenhead, 1997; Semali & Kincheloe, 1999). Conversely, for many students, particularly many Aboriginal students, a Western scientific perspective on nature does not harmonize with their own worldview (Aikenhead, 1997); consequently, Western science seems like a foreign...

  7. part 3: Globalization and the Educational Response

    • 10 Postcolonialism and Globalization: Thoughts towards a New Hermeneutic Pedagogy
      (pp. 251-259)

      Globalization and postcolonialism are words that live in today’s English lexicon like two cousins who trace their ancestry to a common stock but who arrive on the scene with very different interpretations of the family history. Postcolonialism stands in the line of ‘posts’ that Anne McClintock says mark a contemporary crisis in ‘ideologies of the future’ (1994, p. 167). Like postmodernism, poststructuralism, postfordism, and so on, postcolonialism is involved in the work of relativizing (literally showing the interdependent relations of) the once-triumphalist Western tradition, thereby debunking any pretensions that tradition may have had about being the carrier of non-derivative pristine...

    • 11 The Impact of Globalization on Curriculum Development in Postcolonial Societies
      (pp. 260-280)

      In discussing the factors that have influenced and will continue to influence the curriculum of educational institutions in postcolonial societies one first needs to grasp both the manifest and the latent functions of their pre-independence educational programs. Initially, the economic resources of most colonies were subject to outright pillage, and this process required unskilled and semi-skilled workers mainly for agriculture, mining, and other extractive industries; however, as production methods became more capitalized some skilled, white-collar, and professional workers were also needed. In addition, the colonizers required a small group of comprador elites to help in the administration of their colonies....

  8. Part 4: Reimagining Nation and National Identity in the Curriculum

    • 12 Singular Nation, Plural Possibilities: Reimagining Curriculum as Third Space
      (pp. 283-301)

      In his brilliant comic novelEngland, England,Julian Barnes reminds us of the imagined, self-serving, and, in some cases, entirely artificial character that is national identity. It has long been recognized that education plays a crucial role in that imaginative construction (Reisner, 1925; Weber, 1976; Bhabha, 1990; Smith, 1991). Until quite recently most curricula of national identity were privileged and privileging constructions that represented the nation in essentialist terms (Duara, 1996; Willinsky, 1999; Richardson, 2002b) and assumed the existence of what Benedict Anderson has called a ‘common imagining’ of the nation (1991). But a singular imaginary of the nation and...

    • 13 Learning Whose Nation?
      (pp. 302-322)

      This chapter raises ethical questions about the educational promotion of a Euro-American or Euro-Canadian notion of nationalism as a sense of belonging to the nation that has an identity of which the nationalist is proud and protective. I urge educators and students to question the authority and legitimacy of this particular concept of the nation that frames social inquiry in Canadian public schools, as well as in many other educational institutions. My intention is not to consider the future of the nation as a political or legal entity. Rather, I am concerned about the problems with the seemingly neutral nationalist...

  9. Contributors
    (pp. 323-326)