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CTP Memories

THE CURRICULUM THEORY PROJECT(CTP)—25 YEARS STRONG! 

CTP RECOLLECTION OF MEMORIES/RENEWAL OF MOMENTS 

ON THE OCCASION OF ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY 

As a doctoral student in curriculum theory at LSU in the early 1990s, I was at first scarcely aware of any such thing as The Curriculum Theory Project (CTP), then only the visionary brain-child of my brilliant and beloved professors, Dr. William F. Pinar and Dr. William E. Doll, Jr, who founded CTP in 1995.  I did enjoy the fruits of their dreams concerning it, however, lived and enacted if not yet formally established as such.  Indeed, they—with their colleagues—ongoingly engaged us in rigorous interdisciplinary scholarly inquiry as we endeavored together to understand the educational significance of the curriculum and its relationship to compelling subjective and societal issues and aspirations, problems and possibilities, of our time.  Such ‘complicated conversations’, too, historically attuned and respecting imaginative futurity, took up and helped to define academic and public debates and directions local, national and international in scope and address.  I relished such opportunities, which included extraordinary exchanges with students, faculty, and not a few other distinguished scholars, at home at LSU, and at many an illuminating conference elsewhere, as well as those for collaborative presentation and publication with professors and peers, among a host of others.  Today, back at LSU, and as Director of CTP, and 25 years after its founding, I am grateful to be enjoying all such still, to be participating in, celebrating, and endeavoring to continue such a generous and generative tradition.  And I invite, entreat, each of you, in this, gladly, to join me. 

From those early days, and beyond, there are so many unforgettable memories that come to mind, it would be impossible to relate them all—from the thrill of meeting for the first time, learning from and engaging in discussion with such legendary thinkers as Dwayne Huebner, Maxine Greene, Cameron McCarthy, Chet Bowers, Ivor Goodson and Cleo Cherryholmes; to introducing fried alligator to Peter Taubman at the Chimes when he visited Bill Pinar’s curriculum theory class; having my mind blown with Denise Egéa’s introducing me to the work of Derrida; sampling cigars and dissertation drafts weekly at the coffee house with fellow graduate students: Steve Triche, Doug McKnight, Elaine Riley Taylor, and Vicki Hillis; and enjoying bourbon and Bourdieu—or was it Badiou?—around the bonfire at Curriculum Camp with Jacques Daignault and Walter Gershon, as well as David Kirshner’s tutorials in Jewish folk dancing. Gene Diaz comes to mind here also, a veritable whirling dervish, ever magnificent in movement and inspiring the same.  One fun adventure involved learning homegrown stories from Nel Noddings’ husband with Sean Buckreis as we drove them around South Louisiana during her visit as campfire speaker.  

Such memories include, too, treasured experiences like performing Womentalkin’ readers theater with Petra Hendry, Ann Trousdale, Natalie Adams, Tammie Causey and Mary-Ellen Jacobs at Georgia Southern; making winter treks to Athens for QUIG Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies conferencing, and to catch glimpses of curriculum giants Patti Lather and Janet Miller and gather up their expansive insights; and long and lusciously intellectually rich drives to Ohio for the ‘infamous’ Bergamo Conference, where the curriculum conversations continued, and well beyond sessions—over cocktails and meals, woodland hikes, grotto gatherings, and into the wee hours dancing.  Once I drank too much and David Jardine sold me his books, so the story goes (ever an avid fan of his work, I’d collect all at any time, in any state, especially author signed); and Celeste Snowber finally helped me find my ‘inner goddess’ there too.  After my first AERA, I also enjoyed my first earthquake, in Mendocino working with Bill Doll, Noel Gough and Bill Schubert on what would later become Curriculum Visions, and tasting and learning much about wine too from Noel and Annette, who were quite the connoisseurs.  Such were all outcroppings, or rather in-croppings perhaps, of CTP, even as in the making. 

And of course, I have commented nothing here on the oh so many most delicious and delightful—substantive, sustaining and celebratory—LSU gatherings and parties—Bill Doll’s boisterous laughter and Bill Pinar’s rich regaling also ever in attendance… and compelling curricular conversations.  The doctoral seminar Bill Doll began during these early days which continued over a shared lunch each week—“Friday Friends” he called it—is telling here, I think: so much of CTP has been and is about friendship, fellowship, cultivating community that is at once caring, critical and creative; intellectually dynamic and vibrant, living and loving fully, and this the world over.  CTP played, in this way, a founding role in the establishment of the American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies (AAACS), and of IAACS, the international community of which it is an affiliate. Through CTP, many of its alum with whom I did not have the privilege of actually studying with while at LSU also became kindred comrades—some with whom too I have known no small shares of adventure subsequently as well: e.g., Patrick Slattery, Susan Edgerton, Ugena Whitlock, Sarah Pratt, Brian Casemore, Laura Jewett, Hongyu Wang, Toby Daspit, Nicolas Ng-A-Fook, Nicole Guillory, Reagan Mitchell, and Denise Taliafero Baszile, Marianne Frye, and Paul Eaton, among so many others; and CTP Faculty past and present too, like Nina Asher, Nancy Nelson, Kenny Fasching-Varner, Claudia Eppert, Roland Mitchell, Jackie Bach, Kerry Tobin and Kim Skinner.  Too many names presented, I know, and too many left unmentioned—and I have not even really opened out into CTP’s relationality and reach beyond LSU… nationally, internationally, yet I hope I have at least intimated the way in which people are very much at the heart of CTP, together, in community, and committed to (as inspired by Rorty) “keep the conversation going.”   

I have included a collage of but a few, and alas rather poor in terms of quality, old photos I could find and gather to accompany these CTP reveries (and shall keep looking, I trust more to come).  I hope to be enjoyed all such also will stir up your own delectable memories of moments and meanings to share, as we seek to celebrate and sustain CTP—25 years strong, remembering and reflecting upon its way and work as we strive to renew such as well.  I look forward to hearing from you, and further festive reveling together, as to the new aspirations, adventures and achievements to be born among us to come too.   

With my much admiration, appreciation and affection, yours, 

Molly Quinn, August 2020 

CTP Alumnus, 1997 

CTP Faculty Member, & Director, 2020 

P.S. Please share your own CTP memories, stories and photos et al., with us!  The sooner the better too! We want to keep the celebrations as also the conversations going, and also plan to put together a commemoration collection by year’s end. In order to simplify the process, we have developed a simple google form where you can respond readily to prompts about your experience and/or attach files you want to share with us:  

Google docs

You can also email your contributions to any of the following email addresses: 

Anita Dubroc                      adubro4@lsu.edu

Sher Ahmed                        sahme25@lsu.edu

Thank you!