AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE
ADVANCEMENT OF CURRICULUM STUDIES
Eighth Annual Meeting
April 10-12, 2009
Curriculum and the cultural and environmental commons:
Toward reclaiming, restoring, and reinventing*
We might understand the commons, in general, as those material and cultural spaces that belong to everyone, upon which our survival depends, and which are not, or should not be, abandoned to the logics of private interests. For example, a healthy environment, a safe food supply, and adequate medical attention are all essential to human survival and as such might be seen as more appropriately entrusted to public rather than to corporate control.
As language is a cultural production, its use is also a “cultural common” within any particular culture. Scholars from various disciplines now speak of “root metaphors,” which are seen to organize a particular language and so perpetuate a historically established set of connections of a people to each another and to the earth. Comparative study of differing cultures’ root metaphors suggests that some metaphors represent more sustainable ecological and interpersonal relationships than others.
Such comparisons raise the question of whether educators might play a role in adapting our cultures/languages toward more healthy senses of “the commons.” Given the rather dire environmental, economic, and political predictions for what we will face in the immediate future of life on this planet, we approach the coming AAACS conference in southern California in the spirit of our theme. While presentations, performances, or installations that speak directly and clearly to this theme are desirable we also recognize that the spirit of the theme points toward a broadly conceived and complicated conversation, not fettered by any assumptions – conscious or unconscious – embedded in the foregoing words. Any proposed contribution to the complicated conversation that creates meaningful curriculum study is welcomed and encouraged.
Louise Allen, Chair
Peter Appelbaum, Program Chair
Conference Site Chair:
San Diego, California
(more conference location details in the second announcement)