Re/membering Curricular Entanglements: A Currere of the Present-Absent Curriculum of a Gay High School Student


  • Richard D. Sawyer Washington State University Vancouver


Curriculum Theory, Queer Theory, Currere, Self-Study, LGBTQ curriculum history, Null Curriculum


As a gay male who went to a predominately white high school in the 1970s, I was deeply immersed in and contributed to entangled curricular discourses. These included an official curriculum that privileged heterosexual white males and attempted to erase and silence all others, a hidden curriculum echoing the official curriculum, an present-absent curriculum of both guilt and resistance, and a counter-curriculum offering critique and a possible reimagining of the dominant discourses. To examine this entanglement dialogically and reflexively, I use aesthetic currere framed by queer theory to re/member and shift the peripheral-center relationship of the counter-and-official curricula. To surface, explore, and move discursive meanings in these entangled locations, I examine old school artifacts: first, my high school yearbook as a representation and proxy of my school’s dominant traditional curriculum and second my own photography as an expression of counter-narratives and cultural change also taking place. As I look back at my youth from an adult vantage point, I know this inquiry is about the present as much as the past. By my not interrogating my relationship to the official school curriculum and its ongoing hegemonic supremacy, I remain complicit to it and allow curricular entanglements to mutate and reproduce.

Author Biography

Richard D. Sawyer, Washington State University Vancouver

Richard Sawyer is a professor of education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Washington State University Vancouver. He chairs both the MIT Secondary Program and the Teacher Leadership Ed.D. Program. His areas of scholarship include both curriculum theory and qualitative methodologies, focused on emergent understandings and grounded epistemologies. He is especially interested in collaborative ethnographies.






Cultural Studies and Curriculum