To address these risks, curriculum creation could incorporate contestation as a key feature in its radical pedagogy. We acknowledge the power hierarchy, and assert that the curriculum is plural - it does not hold one claim to knowledge. It is taught, retaught, and through the act of teaching, grown. The teaching would be oral, not evaluative but through a prioritisation of vigilance and attentiveness, capturing the anxiety of protests, of active listening and memory-keeping taking from the archival needs of a protest’s caring practices. A curriculum of care, necessarily, thus, would exist outside of the institution of the state executive, judiciary, and legislative, in constant negation of the institution of the university, attempting to not replicate institutional structures in doing so.
Such a curriculum would by definition, include teaching the histories of places, movement and settlement, language and loss of ecologies, stories and metaphors in the margins, and ways to craft new stories that persist. It teaches care – not only eldercare, childcare, healthcare – but well-being cognizant of caste, class, and gendered influences towards joy, rest, and a full life. A care curriculum is not only a curriculum of care, therefore, but a curriculum that cares for its learners – that speculates new futures, new modes of resistance. As a scholar, now, afar, studying grief and protests away from the communities I worked with, the curriculum to me would also need to know affect. It would understand, study, repair, and stitch the loneliness of isolation, the anxiety of unbelonging, and the grief of loss into its methods – to read and write with grief, to write anxiously, to sing your loneliness into community. The act of imagining such a curriculum is perhaps in itself reparative, if to no-one else, at least to me, to those of us for whom allyship and solidarity is a responsibility.
As spring blooms, the summer at home is the hottest in over a hundred years. By dreaming of care and love, by noticing the immense and intimate grief of thousands, millions, or by attempting to, we hope to grow new friendships, craft care into the quiet lights that find their way into uncertain homes – there is nothing more gentle, political, or real.
Q is a PhD scholar of International Relations at the University of St Andrews, studying caregiving as peacebuilding. They hold an MPhil in International Peace Studies from Trinity College Dublin where they read religion and reform in protest movements. They have worked for over five years in think tanks, international organizations, and institutions on queer rights, international law, gender-based violence, and disability.
Follow Q on Twitter: @q_ueering