Always already there: theorizing an intra-disciplinary social studies


Elementary and Early Childhood Education

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While social studies is often referred to as either disciplinary or interdisciplinary, we explain why the term intra-disciplinary might be more appropriate. Specifically, we present new materialist definitions of the prefix intra- and theorize why it is productive to consider social studies concepts as simultaneously historic, geographic, economic, and civic, instead of discrete and separate disciplines. After presenting an overview of the field of social studies and concerns over disciplinary definitions and designations, we show how theory can be put into practice with descriptions of three activities we did with elementary and secondary-focused preservice teachers designed with an intra-disciplinary approach in mind. These activities include a walk through a local neighborhood, a trip to a nearby organic grocery store, and a field trip to the state art museum. Ultimately, we present an argument that the often separated social studies disciplines are always abundantly present in each other and that their continued separation narrows the scope of the field and restricts teachers' ability to create relevancy between classroom topics and the lives of students.

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Pedagogies: An International Journal

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