canadian curriculum and cultural hegemony Essay

Submitted By frizzle89
Words: 3574
Pages: 15

My experience of curriculum is deeply embedded within a history of an/other place told by voices that were both displaced and refused. Part of my research agenda for this paper, which is intertwined with my life history, seeks to make sense of the question: What effects does marginalization have on a society's ability to resist cultural appropriation? To first consider the above research question from my own perspective, I draw on my cultural and family stories of being Kurdish people under Iraqi rule using the methodology of narrative inquiry. Informed by my lived experiences, crafted in the backdrop of a story of oppression and displacement, I venture forth to address the possibility of marginalization as a site of resistance. My analysis of the marginalization as a site of resistance draws on theories of currere and hegemonic epistemology as a way of excavating and unpacking the events of my past in relation to that of Canada's Aboriginal peoples. These frameworks serve as a theoretical lens for looking forward in a way that may help me reconcile some of the tensions of my past and my present as I navigate towards a future that seeks to understand what this means in education.

Making sense of the margins “To be in the margin is to be part of the whole but outside the main body” (Hooks as cited in Ferguson, pp. 341). This quote refers to a site of marginality that neither places a society within the larger majority, nor recognizes the smaller minority as having a place worthy of calling 'their own'. This quote by Hooks speaks to my identity and associations of my cultural past and my present experiences of being a Kurdish-Iraqi-Canadian. Hooks' attempt of (dis)locating1 the margins of a culture to be outside of the main body identifies the topography of a minority people who are pushed to the sidelines by hegemonic principles and monolithic, institutionalized norms. The site of marginality can be presented as an oxymoron with two competing definitions. The first definition considers the most common explanation for marginality as the social space that is relegated to disparate cultures in which they surrender their values and ideals to the overarching hegemonic discourse, (dis)locating them from the social fabric of the greater society.. Essentially, this thrusts the minority to the sidelines and demotes them to an empty space of marginality. The second definition of marginality centers on the human inclination to acquire agency and regain power. This definition centers the individual within their own culture and affords a space for transformation. Furthermore, living at the margins explores the autobiographical method of currere, whereby one remains sceptical of mainstream political and social directions, cultivating a position of 'exile' while maintaining uncertainty towards the self (Kanu & Glor, 2006). This path lends one to gradual transformation of the self, whereby the existential experience is challenged, and self-identity is juxtaposed with the 'other'. In turn, a blank space emerges where the self is free to transform through a deeper understanding than that of their majority counterpart (Aoki, 1983). Thus, it becomes evident that the (dis)location of marginality serves as a position and place of transforming and re-forming; a site of resistance that serves as a crucial marker for the minorities, the oppressed, and the colonized (Hooks as cited in Ferguson, pp. 342). In education, and throughout the discourse of the 'isness' of curriculum, we find that there exist many definitions. The history of Canadian curriculum is infused with themes of decolonization of Aboriginals and is predicated on Colonial Frontier Logic (Donald, 2009) – the 'natural law' of a racial hierarchy that ultimately aimed for the erasure of the Aboriginal culture (Heyer & Abbot, 2011). These themes serve as purposeful indicators to a monolithic Canadian curriculum of hegemonic…