1st Edition

Critical Geographies of Education Space, Place, and Curriculum Inquiry

By Robert J. Helfenbein Copyright 2021
    122 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    122 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    WINNER 2023 Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award

    Critical Geographies of Education: Space, Place, and Curriculum Inquiry is an attempt to take space seriously in thinking about school, schooling, and the place of education in larger society. In recent years spatial terms have emerged and proliferated in academic circles, finding application in several disciplines extending beyond formal geography. Critical Geography, a reconceptualization of the field of geography rather than a new discipline itself, has been theoretically considered and practically applied in many other disciplines, mostly represented by what is collectively called social theory (i.e., anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, political science, and literature). The goal of this volume is to explore how the application of the ideas and practices of Critical Geography to educational theory in general and curriculum theorizing in specific might point to new trajectories for analysis and inquiry.

    This volume provides a grounding introduction to the field of Critical Geography, making connections to the significant implications it has for education, and by providing illustrations of its application to specific educational situations (i.e., schools, classrooms, and communities). Presented as an intellectual geography that traces how spatial analysis can be useful in curriculum theorizing, social foundations of education, and educational research, the book surveys a range of issues including social justice and racial equity in schools, educational reform, internationalization of the curriculum, and how schools are placed within the larger social fabric.

    1. Critical Geography and Education—An Introduction;  2. Space, Place, and Power ;  3. Spaces of Possibility;  4. Geographies of School Reform;  5. The Global City—Taking Space Seriously;  6.The City as Curriculum: The Baltimore Uprising and Spaces of Exception;  7. Conclusions/Connections;  8. Notes on Method


    Robert J. Helfenbein is Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs and Professor of Curriculum Studies in the Tift College of Education at Mercer University. His current research interests include curriculum theorizing in urban contexts, cultural studies of education, and the impact of globalization on the lived experience of schools.

    Critical Geographies of Education: Space, Place and Curriculum Inquiry examines how critical geography is necessary to disrupt Western colonial assumptions of space and time within the scope of education, in favor of radically repositioning of both. Helfenbein makes it clear that there can be no useful theoretical critique of racial history in and around curriculum theorizing without situating oneself critically within relative position to events (time) and places (space). The book redraws lines of knowing and being with a theoretical "hand" of Black and Indigenous feminist curricular scholars from the global majority. With each page, Helfenbein traces the ruptures and fissures, revealing layers of systemic denial and erasure in schooling.  This text is a necessary text given our current sociopolitical moment in which any discourse that challenges hegemonic power in public schools is subject to attack. Through a sequence of powerful narratives, Helfenbein reminds us that all knowledge is local. History is personal. So is geography. Chapter after chapter in Critical Geographies in Education reveals how time and space are interwoven performative curricular maps of violence ... and hope. Of despair .... and transformation. The book calls for a cultivation of intentionality of being-ness that invokes action. Forgive the bad pun, but A Critical Geographies of Education is a "map" in itself for readers to a "spaciocurricular" geography for radically reimagining our collective educational landscape. It does not suggest. It insists.

    Morna McDermott McNulty, PhD

    Professor, College of Education

    Towson University