Graduate students in the College of Education planned this year's Curriculum Camp hosted in Baton Rouge. From left to right: curriculum theory Ph.D. candidate Bruce Parker, higher education Ph.D. candidate Chaunda Allen, curriculum theory Ph.D. candidate Jie Yu.

Graduate students to share ideas with scholar at "Curriculum Camp"

This weekend, graduate students in the College of Education will get a chance to share ideas at the annual conference “Curriculum Camp.” This event is being held in Baton Rouge for the first time.

Hosted by the College of Education and the Curriculum Theory Project at LSU, the conference is designed for graduate students to present research to other graduate students from various universities, including Nicholls State, Texas Christian University and Miami University, among others.

“The conference is a comfortable, supportive environment especially useful for those graduate students who have not presented at a conference before,” said Jacqueline Bach, assistant professor of English education and curriculum theory. “After each presentation there is ample time for discussion, and students often leave with valuable feedback which helps them continue their work.”

Graduate students won’t be the only ones sharing their ideas—this year’s speaker is Cameron McCarthy. McCarthy will discuss “Cultural Studies as Method,” which addresses the historical development of cultural studies as an emergent field of scholarship on popular culture. The central question that will be addressed is how useful and relevant is cultural studies today?

McCarthy teaches mass communications theory and cultural studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has published text on topics related to post-colonialism, problems with neo-Marxist writings on race and education, institutional support for teaching and school ritual and adolescent identities. His work has been published in the Harvard Educational Review, the Oxford Review of Education and The British Journal of the Sociology of Education, among many others. His latest book, “Transnational Perspectives on Culture, Policy and Education: Redirecting Cultural Studies in Neoliberal Times,” was co-edited by Cathryn Teasley from the University of Coruna, Galicia.

“Cameron McCarthy’s scholarship encompasses the field of curriculum theory—it’s interdisciplinary, focuses on the big issues pertaining to education and most importantly, his work in cultural studies,” she said.

McCarthy is known for his collaborations with other scholars, including his former graduate students. Since the conference is focused on graduate students, Bach said they often look for scholars who can offer advice and guidance for the student participants.

In prior years, the conference has hosted speakers including educational philosopher Nel Noddings, curriculum theorist William Pinar, chaos theorist William Doll, author Lisa Delpit and Janet Miller, whose scholarship is narrative inquiry and psychoanalytical theory. Then, the camp was held at the Solomon Episcopal Center in Loranger, La.

“The past several years, we’ve had a bonfire and common meals,” Bach said. “We found that the conference was expensive for many graduate students, so we decided to move it to Baton Rouge.”

Bach said the challenge this year is in keeping the camp-feel, which creates a comfortable environment for everyone. Eating meals together, Bach said, would often lead to further conversation among attendees.

The conference is being held at the Walden Clubhouse, which has a fireplace—the closest thing to a campfire. Bach said the attendees will still be able to eat meals together to keep up with the discussions.

Topics for this year's conference include, "Reframing How We Think About Historically Black Colleges and Universities," "Power Successes and Struggles: Effects within Higher Education," "The Power of Language, Success in College Social and Academic Engagement: A Study of Residential College" and "Challenging a Classical Curriculum: Exploring Postcolonial Perspectives Through Young Adult Literature," among several others.

This year’s camp is sponsored by The Curriculum Theory Project; the College of Education; the Department of Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice; Student Government; and The Office of Multicultural Affairs. McCarthy will speak Saturday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. in the Walton Clubhouse at 1201 Thoreau Drive. The event is open to the public.


Holly A. Phillips | Editor | Office of Communications & University Relations
February, 2010