UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Grief and the curriculum of cosmopolitanism Thomas, Samira


In this dissertation, grief is explored as a path to enlivening and enacting a curriculum of cosmopolitanism. Grief in this research is understood as that which presses heavily upon us, that is, grief is not understood solely as bereavement, but as those experiences that weigh heavily on our lives. This research contends that it is through attending to the heaviness of people’s experiences that the relationship between self and other – the foundation of cosmopolitanism – can become central to curriculum. This research suggests that the traditional canon of knowledge that schools and curriculum developers rely on is primarily exclusionary to epistemologies and ontologies of the nonwhite and female world. As a result, the curriculum reflects only certain student populations while others are cast aside as ghosts haunting the curriculum. The undervaluing of certain epistemologies and ontologies in curriculum and society creates space for bigotry and the caricaturizing of the ghosts of the curriculum. Exploring cosmopolitanism while casting aside certain kinds of knowledge and ways of knowing perpetuates non-cosmopolitan realities. For cosmopolitanism to be enacted, it needs to be explored and understood beyond the traditional canon. This dissertation makes use of autobiography to disrupt the cosmopolitan canon. Grief is inherently the endurance of violence, and it is through the Intimate Dialogue, a method of attending to grief inter-subjectively, that violence can be undone. This is a form of pacifism that sheds the notion of passivity and becomes an active response to violence.

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