n South African Journal of Higher Education - On the limits of cosmopolitanism and a 'curriculum of refuge' : initiating the debate

Volume 24, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



In a recent essay entitled 'Ex and the City': on cosmopolitanism, community and the 'curriculum of refuge', Molly Quinn (2010) introduces her readers to a poetic exploration of cosmopolitanism and curriculum change. She begins and inconclusively ends her essay with poetic language and affirmation of cosmopolitan justice through convincing arguments in defence of a curriculum of refuge. She derives her notion of a curriculum of refuge from Derrida's (2002) idea of a 'city of refuge' which builds on both an 'acceptance of human vulnerability' and a capacity for 'imagining community anew'. For Quinn a curriculum of refuge should in fact be a haven for hospitality and multicultural, intercultural, transcultural and postcultural community, thus making room for imaginative transformation of a 'not-yet', 'yet-to-come' child / children-centred curriculum (Quinn 2010, 33). It is hoped that this curriculum would entertain encounters with otherness, difference and forgiveness - the latter being by far the most pronounced piece of poetic justice that a curriculum of refuge, in my mind, has to offer. In this essay I want to extend Quinn's idea of a 'curriculum of refuge' to one which also connects with democratic iterations and 'forgiveness of the improbable'.

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