Curriculum as Shadow Play


  • Kyle L. Chong Michigan State University, College of Education (Curriculum, Instruction & Teacher Education).
  • Peter Nelson Assistant Professor of Curriculum Studies School of Education


curriculum, theory, digital media, social studies


This essay seeks to trouble the binary of light and dark in the theorizing of curriculum. Through our play with shadows (as umbral, penumbral, and anteumbral), we seek to show how shadowy spaces—refuge—can emerge in curriculum. We do this by exploring social studies teaching and the digital ethics of shadowy spaces (Black Twitter, cancel ‘culture,’ and the dark web) to illustrate the differences between spaces of speaking back versus hiding from. We do so to critique the binary of light and dark both as a metaphor for official and unofficial curricula, but also seen and unseen in discourse. 


Author Biographies

Kyle L. Chong, Michigan State University, College of Education (Curriculum, Instruction & Teacher Education).

Kyle L. Chong (張陳創庭) (he.him.his) is a Doctoral Student in the Curriculum, Instruction & Teacher Education (CITE) program at the Michigan State University College of Education, whose research focuses on [Asian]CR[I]T, social studies education, critiques of patriotic and nationalist education, and curriculum theory. Kyle currently is an instructor in the teacher preparation program and teaches courses on the social foundations of education, and reading and responding to children’s and young adult literature. His publications focuses on theories of happiness and joy in teaching and curriculum, Asian American teachers, critiques of Chinese National education policy,  and game-based learning. Kyle is currently a Co-Editor of the Iowa Journal of the Social Studies, the Parliamentarian for the Council of Graduate Students (COGS) and the Graduate Student Representative on the Michigan State University Committee on Curriculum. Formerly, Kyle has served as the inaugural Graduate Researcher for the Center for Community Engaged Learning, and as a Global Curriculum Fellow in the Office of International Studies in Education. Kyle earned a Bachelor of Arts in Politics & Government and was a 2018 Pacific Rim Asia Scholar, and Robert S. Trimble Distinguished Asia Scholar Designation from the University of Puget Sound. Kyle’s TEDx talk “[Anti-]Racism at Sunset; Happiness as Horizon” aired 21 April 2021.

Peter Nelson, Assistant Professor of Curriculum Studies School of Education

Peter Nelson is an Assistant Professor of Curriculum Studies in the School of Education at Southern Illinois University. His current research investigates how competing visions what a teaching life can, and ought to, be like and feel like are produced and circulated.