Term of Award

Spring 2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

John A. Weaver

Committee Member 1

Daniel E. Chapman

Committee Member 2

Mary Aswell Doll

Committee Member 3

Marla Morris

Abstract

This dissertation argues that curriculum, especially as it is practiced in high school education, needs revision, that literature is the place to start that revision, and that literature class itself needs to be revised to incorporate a much broader understanding of the texts to be studied so that such work might take place there. This dissertation also recognizes that the work of teaching literature and humanities classes is especially difficult today, and argues that this difficulty has dire ramifications for all teachers and researchers in and of public education, and particularly for the field of curriculum studies. This work argues that the important questions of curriculum studies, such as whose knowledge matters most, or what should be passed from one generation to the next, are important to all students and are best explored by students of all types in public education literature and humanities courses, and so a new emphasis on these courses at all points in the curriculum is needed. However, for this exploration to remain possible for public education teachers and students, we will need what this study calls liminal scholars, doing the work of revision; they will need to constantly see how what's going on inside the academy affects what's going on outside, and vice versa, and revise public education to suit the new circumstances. In summary, this work says that 21st-century America will still need literature class, but literature class will need a good strong dose of 21st-century America The Need for Revision as well, and we will need liminal scholars of curriculum studies to keep this relationship a healthy one. The author proposes that with revision of the role of literature and the humanities in the curriculum, we can make these classes our great meeting places, the hubs of our secondary public academic world, where people of many walks of life and future fields of study can come together and learn to become filters in a complex, dynamic, feedback-laden world of many texts, making determinations about what matters most, to whom we should listen, and how these discoveries ought to be expressed and shared with the rest of us.

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