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Mapping Curricular Assemblages

by Paul William Eaton & Petra Munro Hendry - 2019

Background/Context: This article advances scholarship from curriculum theorists, educational philosophers, and educational researchers unpacking the dehumanizing aspects of education.

Focus of Study: The article maps the role of the tree as a measuring and organizing apparatus of curriculum and unpacks possibilities for utilizing rhizomes as a way to create movement in conceptualizing curriculum.

Research Design: In this article, we utilize Jackson and Mazzei’s concept of thinking with theory. We bring into conversation Deleuze and Guattari’s theoretical concepts of assemblage, arborescence, rhizomatics, and deterritorializing and Karen Barad’s concepts of entanglement and intra-action.

Conclusions: The article proposes envisioning the tree and the rhizome as mutually constituted in contemporary curriculum discourses but asserts the continuing dominance of the tree as limiting the relational capacities of curriculum. Thinking curriculum arborescently dehumanizes contemporary schooling and education by reducing students, teachers, classrooms, and schools to data points. Rhizomatic thinking opens space for a relational, ethical, and ontological educative process of being~becoming.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 121 Number 11, 2019, p. 1-32
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22804, Date Accessed: 9/23/2021 11:43:17 PM

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About the Author
  • Paul Eaton
    Sam Houston State University
    E-mail Author
    PAUL WILLIAM EATON is Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Sam Houston State University. Paul’s research interests include inquiries into digital technologies in education and human identity-subjectification-becoming; complexity theory’s application to educational research; postqualitative and posthumanist inquiry; and curriculum theorizing-philosophy in the realms of postsecondary education and student affairs. His recent publications include the book Troubling Method: Narrative Research as Being, co-authored with Petra Munro Hendry and Roland Mitchell, and co-authored articles, “Perturbing Possibilities in the Postqualitative Turn: Lessons from Taoism (道) and Ubuntu” in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, and “Nomadic Subjectivity: Countering Neoliberal Subjectivity in Contemporary Student Development Theorizing” in Thresholds in Education.
  • Petra Hendry
    Louisiana State University
    E-mail Author
    PETRA MUNRO HENDRY is the St. Bernard Chapter of the LSU Alumni Association Endowed Professor in the College of Human Sciences and Education at Louisiana State University. She is the codirector of the Curriculum Theory Project and teaches graduate level courses in curriculum theory, traditions of inquiry, and curriculum history. Her scholarship examines the role of narrative in the construction of curriculum history, educational research and teachers’ life histories. She is the author of six books including, Engendering Curriculum History (2011, Routledge) and her most recent book, Troubling Method: Narrative Research as Being (2019, Peter Lang) is co-authored with Roland Mitchell and Paul Eaton. Recent articles have appeared in Curriculum History, History of Education, American Journal of Education, Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, and Qualitative Inquiry. In 2016 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Educational Research Association, Division B.
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