Gendering Social Studies: Teachers’ Intended and Enacted Curriculum and Student Diffraction


curriculum studies
social studies education
Curricular-instructional gatekeeping
teacher beliefs
student response

How to Cite

Watson-Canning, A. (2020). Gendering Social Studies: Teachers’ Intended and Enacted Curriculum and Student Diffraction. Journal Of Curriculum Studies Research, 2(1), 55-75.


Due to intransigence of social studies curriculum-makers to broaden the scope of who and what is studied, women (especially non-white women) are lacking representation. However, some teachers go beyond the textbook to select alternative curriculum lenses. Utilizing curricular-instructional gatekeeping, complementary curriculum, and queer theory, this article examines how two secondary teachers who incorporate issues of gender and/or women’s experiences into their social studies curriculum describe their reasoning and intentions, how their expressed aims are manifested within their classrooms, and student reaction to the incorporation of gender and women’s experience in the social studies curriculum. Findings indicate participants value multiple perspectives and parity in social studies curriculum and map these ideas onto the explicit curriculum. However, student responses tend to resist teacher intentions and enactment of challenges to normative gender roles. This diffracted curriculum interferes with teacher aims, creating a curricular space where traditional assumptions of the gender binary play out in teacher-student and student-student interactions. These findings indicate a more relational approach to social studies curriculum may be needed to encourage students to engage constructively with nonnormative social ideas.