Call for Abstracts: The Dreamwork of Transformation in Teacher Education

Call for Abstracts: The Dreamwork of Transformation in Teacher Education

Journal of Curriculum Theorizing (JCT)

Guest Editors:

Karyn Sandlos, University of Illinois Chicago

Jim Garrett, University of Georgia

Brian Casemore, George Washington University

The editors of this special issue of JCT invite abstract submissions (300-500 words) for papers that will, in various ways, engage the limits of the stories we tell ourselves in teacher education through the idea/image/metaphor/vantage of dreams and dreaming.  Ever since the publication of Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams (1899), the status of dreams and dreaming has persisted in inquiry as a means to resist the taken-for-granted through practices of analysis, interpretation, and meaning making. Freud (1914) argued that dreams act as “guardians of sleep,” allowing us to become conversant with parts of ourselves that are difficult to know or accept. Pinar’s (2004) “the nightmare of the present,” a reference to the contemporary landscape of educational reform, inaugurates his book, What is Curriculum Theory? Ta-Nehisi Coates’ (2015) elaboration of “The Dream” identifies national mythologies of race as structuring the persistence of white supremacy. What can we make of these various versions and uses of dreaming if we use them to think anew about our work in the spaces of teacher education? 

A linear theory of learning predominates the structures and features of most teacher education programs. The focus, appropriate and understandable, typically resides in the terrain of the explicit pedagogical exchange: unit and lesson plans about mandated curricular topics, the ways of engaging students’ interest in order to maximize academic achievement, the cultural relevance of classroom spaces, teaching for social justice, and so on. Teacher educators have a specific and particular “who” in mind of the teacher-subject they are teaching, and at the same time, the students have a particular and specific “who” in mind of the teacher they are working to become.

While in many ways these practices hold potential and operate with ambitious visions for powerful and transformative teaching practice, there is ample room for exploring the limits of the linear and the literal in the dynamics of pedagogical exchange. Our invitation is for papers that will explore, in various ways, what occurs when dreams (as idealizations, desires, conflicts, symbolizations, and so on) in teacher education meet the realities of curriculum and professional life. Whether anti-racist, social justice, or “basic-skills” outcomes structure the transformative desires of individuals in teacher education, there is always another story being told. These ‘other’ stories constitute the dreamwork of teacher education.  

The dreamwork and teacher education have in common the objective of bringing students into contact with themselves and other people in transitional states of human subjectivity and learning. In this issue, attention to the dreamwork of teacher education will offer insight into the ways in which professional knowledge and experience are shaped by social and psychical experiences of non-linearity, vulnerability, omnipotence, suffering, hope, and transformation. Submissions will work theoretically and speculatively with concepts of dreaming or the dreamwork and/or make use of dreamlike data from teacher education (journals, autobiographies, art works, and other symbolic material) to imagine a translation of method from the dreamwork into the teacher education context. 

Questions the papers (between 4,000-6,000 words) might explore include:

  • What versions of the dream, dreamers, and dreaming structure the scene of teacher education?
  • How might teacher education attend to relations between inside and outside, between waking life and dreaming? 
  • What happens in teacher education when experience meets something other than our idealizations, expectations, and anticipated outcomes?
  • How do ideas get caught in the dynamic relation between the idealized “who’s” we have in mind and the realized lives that are enacted in classrooms? 
  • What does it mean for teacher candidates to learn to master skills and knowledge, while at the same time learning to tolerate the developmental uncertainties and complexities of the pedagogical relation? 
  • How do relations among students, curriculum, and professional knowledge foster changes in the self?
  • How does dreaming create conditions for transformation and agency in teacher education


Deadline for Abstracts (300-500 words): March 27th, 2020

Invitations for Papers: by April 10th, 2020

Papers due to Editors: July 1, 2020

  • Final papers (between 4,000-6,000 words)

Editor feedback provided: August 15, 2020

Final versions of paper, deadline: September 15, 2020

Publication: October 2020 


Submit 300-500 word abstracts to: 

Karyn Sandlos