Part of the School of Education Research Seminar Series.
What Happened to Critical Curriculum Theory! Itinerant Curriculum Theory Towards a ‘Futurable’ Future
Speaker : Professor João M. Paraskeva, College of Arts & Sciences, UMass, Dartmouth, Boston, Massachusetts USA
This will be a virtual seminar using Zoom. Contact email@example.com for details about how to take part.
Why has it been so difficult for critical theories and pedagogies to become hegemonic? Why has it become so oddly tough for critical theories and pedagogies to become dominant within counter-hegemonic platforms? In a world where there is so much to criticize, “why has it become so difficult to produce a critical curriculum theory?” (Santos, 1999, p. 197). What happened to critical curriculum theory! Whose critical curriculum theory! Who benefits! As Žižek (2020) would put it, is the ‘text’ of critical curriculum theory still actual? This paper aims to address such crucial questions. In doing so, the paper dissects the leading role of a particular group of intellectuals in the struggle for the U.S. curriculum towards a more just society and education. Drawing on Pepetela’s novel The Generation of Utopia, the paper situates such group of intellectuals within a radical critical curriculum river framing a particular utopia as a ‘real’ possibility within a vast generation thus echoing a historical tradition of complex battles for a just world within and beyond the field; they indeed enhance a utopian generation. The paper examines the accomplishments and frustrations of such a generation. It highlights how such generation not only coined the field politically and championed a new vocabulary to unpack dominant pedagogical traditions, but also erroneously persisted in working fundamentally only within a Modern Western Eurocentric platform as a way to smash education as a eugenic sorting machine. The paper underlines also how the wrangles between hegemonic and counter-hegemonic traditions not only could not avoid the epistemicidal nature of the curriculum, but also drove the field into a theoretical involution, a regression, a ‘theoricide’. The paper examines the complex inability of most critical approaches to understand that it ‘is impossible to destroy the master's house with the master’s tools’ (Lorde, 2007). In doing so it excavates the ‘theoretical insufficiencies’ framing critical approaches in the struggle against curriculum as the epistemicide - the social eugenic architecture of Modern Western Eurocentric reason. The paper argues for a theoretical decolonial turn, for the need to decolonize Modern Western Eurocentric counter dominant approaches and advances the itinerant curriculum theory (ICT), as a just approach to champion the struggle against the curriculum epistemicide. It calls ‘the death’ of traditional ways to produce critical theory - Eurocentric fully saturated - as a way to de-link the critical theoretical out of the coloniality matrix, and in so doing honoring the rich legacy of the generation of utopia.
 This address draws on previous material yet presenting a substantive different structure and approach. Paraskeva, J. (2021) Curriculum and the Generation of Utopia. New York: Routledge.