Mapping the Doctoral Journey via Autobiographical Consciousness: Locating Self and Finding Voice in the Academy


  • JoVictoria Nicholson-Goodman


In this paper, I map elements of self-construction that came into play as I pursued acceptance within the academy as an aspiring scholar. To explore my educational growth as a doctoral student, I weave together autobiography, expressed through anecdotal disclosure and poetic narrative, and social cartography, a research genre for mapping disputatious discursive terrain-in this case what I see as the divergence between the logic of erudition and aesthetic sensibilities, on the one hand, and the struggle between being self- or other-directed, on the other. To conduct this inquiry, I recall and revisit the 'private pole' of my upbringing constructed by disparate parental views of life and learning-the 'early curriculum' and the 'other curriculum' poetically narrated-in contrast to the 'public pole' of the doctoral journey itself. This form of artful inquiry is offered as one possible approach for others who may experience a sense of distancing or disorientation as they pursue acceptance in the academy.

Author Biography

JoVictoria Nicholson-Goodman

JoVictoria Nicholson-Goodman earned her Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh in the Social & Comparative Analysis of Education program. She authored a volume in Pinar's "Curriculum as Complicated Conversation" series: Autobiography of a democratic nation at risk: The currere of culture and citizenship in the post-9/11 American wilderness, as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. She currently teaches social and curriculum foundations courses at Penn State Harrisburg and a research seminar at Drexel University. Her research encompasses curriculum theory and inquiry; history, philosophy, and politics of education; policy studies; and qualitative/interpretive theory and research. To contact: