The Intersections of Africana Studies and Curriculum Theory: A Counter-Western Narrative for Social Justice

Theodorea Regina Berry


There has been much critique of globalization now circulating in curriculum studies both nationally, in the United States, and internationally, helps us understand some of the lethal effects of globalization.  Nevertheless, little of such critique is grounded in a strong commitment to work beyond the Western epistemological perimeter.  While we, as reconceptualists in curriculum studies, acknowledge the necessity to honor the multiple sources and perspectives of knowledge, we continue to operate in spaces and with intentions embedded in globalized, traditional notions of curriculum.  This problem is especially heightened for socially marginalized learners, particularly Black/African American learners.  

In this article, I will articulate the influence of Africana studies in curriculum theory as a counter-western narrative for social justice.  In doing so, I will articulate the ways in which Africana Studies provide underlying philosophies to reconceptualist notions of curriculum theory.  I will begin with a definition and brief history of Africana studies in westernized/U.S. context.  Following this, I will provide an outline of curriculum theory, focusing on reconceptualists’ notion of curriculum theory.  Next, I will articulate the method by which I chose to focus on the three Black scholars --- DuBois, Woodson, and Davis --- highlighted in this work and discuss the work of these Africana studies’ scholars and the ways in which their work is related to and, potentially, influential in reconceptualists’ curriculum theory.  Finally, this work will conclude with the ways in which such influences provide a counter-western narrative for social justice, particularly for westernized educational spaces.


Africana Studies, curriculum theory, Black education

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JCT: Journal of Curriculum Theorizing is an interdisciplinary journal of curriculum studies. It offers an academic forum for scholarly discussions of curriculum. Historically aligned with the "reconceptualist" movement in curriculum theorizing, and oriented toward informing and affecting classroom practice, JCT presents compelling pieces within forms that challenge disciplinary, genre, and textual boundaries.

The journal is published by the Foundation for Curriculum Theory and is associated with the Bergamo Conference on Curriculum Theory and Classroom Practice, held in the autumn of each year. JCT is indexed in The Education Index.

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