Itinerant Curriculum Theory: Navigating the Waters of Power, Identity, and Praxis

Elizabeth Janson, Carmelia Motta Silva


This article critically examines João Paraskeva’s work (2011) in decolonizing the curriculum field with a focus on its extension into the daily theorizations and contradiction in U.S. public secondary education in the formation and oppression of identities. As language teachers, we both are confronted with the standardization of curriculum through Common Core that continues to block critical thinking and act as mechanism of colonization. Furthermore, we use our experiences in being made by the U.S. public education system in which we come from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds to see how culture and gender catalyzed how we were shaped in schools. This analysis evinced the need of Paraskeva’s (2011) concept of the Itinerant Curriculum Theory (ICT) in US public education and unveiled how the curriculum contains epistemicides (Santos, 2007; Paraskeva, 2011), linguicides (Thiong’o, 2009), commodification, anesthetization. Race to the Top (RTTT), No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and now Ever Child Succeeds Act (ECSA) perpetuate a process of colonizing the mind instead of creating a space for liberatory pedagogy and ICT in which identities, spiritualities, and knowledges would strengthen instead of facing erasure. 


Elizabeth Janson is a high school English teacher in the South Coast of Massachusetts and received her PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy at UMass Dartmouth. She also is active in organizing efforts to engage the community about critical education issues. Her research focuses on analyzing educational policy and practice, particularly globalization, privatization, coloniality, decolonial theory, curriculum theory, and cultural politics. She has presented her research at both national and international conferences, including AERA, WERA, CIES, TRED, and AAACS. She is a contributing author to several books. including The Curriculum. Decanonizing the Field.

Carmelia Silva is the World Languages Department Chair and a Spanish teacher at Joseph Case High School. She has been teaching for sixteen years. She received her PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy with a research focus in cultural politics, identity, coloniality, language, and privatization of public education. She has presented at American Advancement for Curriculum Studies Conference, New England Educational Research Organization Conference, Center for International Educational Studies Conference, and TRED Conference.

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Copyright (c) 2017 Elizabeth Janson, Carmelia Motta Silva