rusq: Vol. 51 Issue 1: p. 75
Sources: Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies
Dr. Nancy F. Carter

Dr. Nancy F. Carter, Librarian Emeritus, University Libraries, University of Colorado, Boulder

The study of curriculum began in the early twentieth century and is therefore a relative newcomer in the discipline of Education. This 2-volume encyclopedia published by Sage Reference focuses on work in North America and is the first of its kind. Its emphasis is on current and future trends in the field rather than historical aspects. One other encyclopedia, The International Encyclopedia of Curriculum, edited by Arieh Lewy (Oxford, 1991), covered a wider area and is now in need of updating.

In his introduction, Professor Kridel explains how the orientation of the publication changed from its first inception. When the original editor, William H. Schubert, became unable to continue, Professor Kridel assumed editorship. He saw the encyclopedia as a work of service scholarship which would serve primarily as an introduction to general education in a field that continues to expand and change. “Rather than attempting to reconceive and redefine curriculum studies, I viewed the publication as a form of service to help the reader understand the field and those core terms and concepts that comprise its essential features” (xxx). The introduction is also instructive in separating curriculum studies from “the field of curriculum”—a separation which is not immediately intuitive.

Volume 1 begins with a listing of the 500 entries chosen by Professor Kridel with input from the editorial board and other colleagues. Next is a Reader’s Guide which divides and lists the entries into ten general topic categories. A page of information about the editor is followed by a listing of the contributors and their associated institutions. The editor’s introduction gives information about the concepts, definitions, and ideas that make up the volumes. The encyclopedia entries are concise and readable. Each one is signed by the author and followed by a list of further readings and sometimes “see also” topics. An extensive index is at the end of the second volume.

This encyclopedia contains many unusual aspects. Biographical entries are kept to a minimum, but there are group biographies in the form of historical accounts of universities whose faculty have greatly influenced the field. Influential journals and books are treated as subject entries. Two topics, Nature of Curriculum Studies and Future of Curriculum Studies, are comprised of five essays each to present varied opinions and approaches to what are inevitably basic discussion topics. At the end of volume two is a seventeen page Appendix which deals with one of the first and most influential publications in the field of curriculum studies, the 26th Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, a two-volume set published in 1927. From that yearbook came eighteen guiding questions which are addressed from a contemporary perspective by two curriculum scholars, Timothy Leonard and Peter M. Hilton.

The credibility of The Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies is enhanced by its editor as well as over 200 contributors drawn from the leading scholars in the field of Education. Most are from the United States and Canada with a few from Europe. Editor Kridel, the E. S. Gambrell Professor of Educational Studies at the University of South Carolina, is also that institution’s curator of its Museum of Education. Professor Kridel has written numerous books and articles, served on editorial boards, boards of directors, was founding editor of the journal Teaching Education, and is credited with other accomplishments too numerous to list in this review. I also applaud his choice of a reference librarian, Mary R. Bull, to serve as managing editor.

This publication is a highly recommended addition for academic libraries in institutions where programs in Education are offered.

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