Saturday, 17 December 2016

Book Review: Curriculum Epistemicide: Towards an Itinerant Curriculum Theory

Curriculum Epistemicide: Towards an Itinerant Curriculum Theory. By João M. Paraskeva, 2016, Routledge.

Hard Cover.

On reading the title, "Curriculum Epistemicide", I was very excited to obtain this book as I had recently read work by Boaventura de Sousa Santos and enjoyed his concept of 'epistemicide', which has to do with the way practices and knowledges are destroyed by hegemonic western epistemology. I am hoping to write a book bringing together writing on decolonisation and social justice with writing on learning and teaching, thus the attraction of the title of this book. The book has been quite a disappointment. Firstly, it is very tortuously written, which many complex passages. Secondly, the argument in it, 'towards an itinerant curriculum theory' is not well advanced at all, and the book seems to contain little at all that is original. I will come back to this point. Thirdly, it is not particularly well written, and is badly edited or not edited at all, thus it has lots of grammar mistakes, some even in the many passages that are cited from other works. I have always held books in such high esteem, and have seen the idea of writing a self authored book as a privilege. This book, especially coming out of the Routledge stable, where hard covers are so expensive especially for South Africans, has dented my awe somewhat.

The one value of this book arises out of its weakness ie its reliance on the writings of others. It traverses a huge range of writers from the critical theory paradigm to decolonisation and decoloniality. If one has not read much of this terrain, this book can serve as a helpful whip around. Authors cited include: Henry Giroux, Slavoj Žižek, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Walter Mignolo, Nelson Maldonado-Torres, Michael Apple, Ramon Grosfoguel, Amilcar Gabral, Antonio Gramsci, William Pinar and many, many others. There are many authors cited from South America and Africa, as well as the United States and Europe, testifying to the notion of an ecology of knowledges and hybridity rather than ghettoising knowledge. The book has a fairly 'balanced' approach and does not advocate essentialising or romanticising indigenous and other knowledges. Interestingly, it cites writers on the writing of Karl Marx, most notably decolonial writers, that Marxism should be incorporated in a decolonial conception, rather than the other way around.


  1. This review has put me off ..lets see if i can lay my hands on this seemingly 'disappointing' book. The reviewer also makes a huge mistake by saying Ramon Grosfoguel is Ronaldo ... Thank you for taking the time to read this!

  2. Thanks for the review, I would not have stopped reading the book based on the first two comments.

  3. bad mistake, thanks Dinong, I will correct!