ABSTRACT

Our credibility in the white-male run intellectual establishment is constantly in question and rises and falls in direct proportion to the degree to which we continue to act and think like our black female selves, rejecting the modes of bankrupt white-male Western thought. Intellectual passing is a dangerous and limiting solution for black women, a nonsolution that makes us invisible women. (Hull & Smith, 1982, p. xviii)

All work is autobiographical. That is, we all bring our sorted histories, hopes, and desires to the project of curriculum theory, hooking onto familiar stories and creating new ones. And to the extent we are in dialogue, in conversation about these stories and the histories in which they are forever entangled, we produce, perform, and engage the “complicated conversations” that are curriculum theory. I have never been one for the debates that plague the fi eld, the ones about what exactly curriculum theory is or should be, about categories, labels, and allegiances (see Marshall, Sears, & Shubert, 2000/2007 for discussion of these issues), primarily because my attraction to it has been its emphasis on the self as important to all meanings and manifestations of curriculum. Pinar notes (2004), that curriculum theory is about “discovering for one’s self and with others, the educational signifi cance of school subjects for self and society in the ever-changing historical moment” (p. 16). Within this context, self-knowledge and self-understanding are in and of themselves critical social justice projects, which work to develop a sense of agency in

an increasingly endangered democracy (Giroux & Giroux, 2004; Marable, 2002). And if we are to take seriously-in the course of our scholarly and pedagogical work-the signifi cance of the self in the understanding and production of curriculum, then it makes sense to also acknowledge the same for the fi eld of curriculum theory, which is just as much about self-making as the curricula about which and through which we theorize. In this vein, to acknowledge the signifi cance of our voices, our selves in the production of our work is the only way-it seems to me-to make a faithful attempt at avoiding “transreferentiality” or the extent to which the very problems we attempt to displace show up rather un-self-consciously as our work (Gutierrez-Jones, 2001). From this perspective, I know that any conversation about curriculum theory must begin not so much with the question of what it is, but rather what is my curriculum theory project, how do I engage the complicated conversation?