Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Future Histories of Ghost Curriculum

In the future, we'll want to do more to tap into what I've been calling "ghost curriculum," that is, those off the radar, underground, or unofficial systems of knowledge that people possess and discourse communities that they belong to, but may not get formal recognition in educational settings.

I'm thinking about all the knowledge the young sisters bring related to natural hair, hair care in general, and style. Despite the fact fashion interests are regularly ridiculed as frivolous, discourses concerning hair and style contain multiple politics and prompt multiple serious and far-reaching consequences. The knowledge and ideas that emerge in natural hair and stylistic communities are definitely worth considering if we are to take large numbers of black women on our campus seriously.

We can also think about how collegiate men engage sports and rap constitute ghost curriculum. This semester, two of our contributors, Caleb Butler and Bryan Ryan have been developing a basketball project and producing weekly  writings, covering topics such as aesthetics, statistics, style, and technology. The extensive body of knowledge about basketball and discourse communities such as rap music that these and other young men arrive to college with and expand along the way provide all kinds of enriching learning and sharing experiences.        

Moving forward, we might do well to identify more of these ghost curriculum (or curricula) and delve deeper into understanding why and how some remain so popular among distinct groups. We might also consider the moments when this ghost curricula diverge from, converge with, or simply haunts the so-called official collegiate curricula.       

Future Histories project  

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