Yearbook Discourse in/Ex-Clusion: Excavating Identity and Memory (Essay‪)‬

Journal of Curriculum Theorizing 2006, Winter, 22, 4

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Publisher Description

In this article we excavate the meanings of our past identities, our memories, the ways we in/ex-clude by looking through, comparing, and making sense of inscriptions found within/on/between the pages of our high school yearbooks. What did we value? What roles did we appropriate, desire, condemn? How did others construct our existence? How well did people really know us? While pictures seem to evidence our popularity, the written messages seem to confirm our relationships with others. The written messages, however, maintain more than just connection, as Finders (1997) explains the school yearbook is a sign of belonging--a documentation of social roles and allegiances. She writes, "[s]eeing roles and relationships in print documented one's social position. Literacy was of central importance, serving as written record, fixing roles and relationships in print" (p. 23). That is, written messages are artifacts that speak to our participation/resistance within discourses. Moreover, the words found within/on/between yearbook pages become projected biographies of how we are seen and who we are expected to become, how we are in/ex-cluded. They become part of a "hidden" curriculum, a social discourse that re-inscribes hegemonic positionings. As noted by Gee (2001), "... the meanings of words, phrases and sentences are always situated, that is customized to our actual contexts. Here context means not just the words, deeds, and things that surround our words, or deeds, but also our purposes, values, and intended course of action" (p. 716). By exploring our yearbook signings, our hope is to open spaces that allow for a richer understanding of ourselves and others as social actors in a democratic life as well as to open spaces that provide teachers and curriculum workers with opportunities to take a more critical stance toward unnoticed social discourses within school systems. That is, as curriculum workers, we believe that we need to interrogate our identity, and our memory so that we might uncover the "hidden" ideologies that underlie understandings of curriculum and schools.

GENRE
Professional & Technical
RELEASED
2006
December 22
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
21
Pages
PUBLISHER
Caddo Gap Press
SELLER
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.
SIZE
199.4
KB

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