Conceptualizing curriculum as technotheological text

Part of my research is a journey of understanding curriculum as technology, and curriculum as theology. In this way, I have been conceptualizing curriculum as technotheology. One of my book chapters further builds on my theorizing by espousing Technotheological curricular spaces: Encountering the circus, cathedral, and bridge. This chapter is from the book, Provoking curriculum encounters across educational experience. The following is from the introduction (pp. 42-43):

In Conflicting Conceptions of Curriculum , Eisner and Vallance (1974) identify and examine five widely acknowledged conceptions, formulations, or orientations of curriculum. Of interest for this chapter are the two different conceptions of “curriculum as technology” and “curriculum as consummatory experience,” or what Pinar, Reynolds, Slattery, and Taubman (1995 ) later identify as “curriculum as theological text.” Curriculum as technology is typically framed as concerning the objectives of learning, specifically with finding “efficient means to a set of predefined, nonproblematic ends” to curriculum design (Eisner & Vallance, 1974, p. 7). This approach is supposedly value neutral, process focused, and production driven. Alternatively, curriculum as theological text is value centred and growth oriented, and is involved in discerning “consummatory experiences for individual learners” (Eisner & Vallance, 1974 , p. 9). While these two conceptions of curriculum seem to be widely incommensurate, I assert that they have a stronger inter-relationship than may
at first appear.

The aim for this chapter is to articulate the space in between curriculum as technology and curriculum as theology, a dwelling similar to
Aoki’s (1991/2005) call to linger on a curricular bridge. Through Aoki (1987/2005), we recall the ideas of theologian Schleiermacher in attuning to the layered worlds of curriculum and pedagogy. One such way of attunement is through the lens of architecture, which Schleiermacher uses to explicate how a theoretician, practitioner, and practicing worshipper might relate to a cathedral or a school. In these architectural spaces, we may be offered examples of how technology and theology materialize into technotheological spaces. For instance, the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris was designed with soaring ceilings, creating an atmosphere of mystery, awe, and wonder, rendering the physical reality as sacred space. Similarly, the Trinity College Library in Ireland was designed with a grand “long room” and now, even Apple stores, such as those in New York City and in London, have massive cubic structures that match the grandness of religious buildings. Architectural spaces have a power to engage, connect, inform, and transform. They are embodied forms of lived experience, encountering humanity’s inscription into space. Spatial conceptualization and symbolic narratives are often built into the multifaceted—
simultaneously technological and theological—agendas of architecture.

In the following sections, I invoke the circus, cathedral, and bridge as technotheological spaces that synthesize curricular experience, symbolism, and meaning. Within these built environments, we witness humanity’s quest for transcendence intertwined with the rise of technology, a technotheological space. Beginning with a brief foray into the metaphysics of curriculum, I present how one of the originating uses of curriculum, as infrastructure in ancient Greece, can be traced through our architectural exemplars, through a thread of curriculum as technology and theology. This chapter, then, attempts to theorize a lived curricular encounter, through the materiality and technology of architecture, and the reconceptualization of curriculum as a technotheological space.

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