Theorizing Place: Students' Navigation of Place Outside


  • Sandra Schmidt


In many disciplines, the concept of place is a point of inquiry about how and why a physical location acquires its meaning.  In schools, the curriculum of place assumes that place is simple and uncontested.  This does not match the real world experience of many students.  This paper examines the manners in which students do navigate and make sense of places.  In the end a model is developed, building on other models of place, that emphasizes the centrality of the self and perception in observing and making decisions about places.  The boundaries that students draw around a particular location and their relation to other places allow students to know where and when to enter.  The way in which these boundaries are made is critical in rethinking curriculum that presumes to be teaching places but not yet teaching about place.

Author Biography

Sandra Schmidt

Sandra Schmidt is Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education and Curriculum Studies at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.  Her work draws from critical social theory in geography, queer theory, and postcolonial lenses.  She can be contacted at: