Mandy Hoffen and a Conspiracy to Resurrect Life and Social Justice in Science Curriculum with Henrietta Lacks

A Play

Dana Compton McCullough, Georgia Southern University

A volume in the series: Landscapes of Education. Editor(s): William H. Schubert, University of Illinois at Chicago. Ming Fang He, Georgia Southern University.

Published 2021

This book is a theoretical inquiry into alternative pedagogies that challenge current standardized practices in the field of science education. Through Mandy Hoffen, a fictional persona, Dana McCullough, the author, explores how stories of Henrietta Lacks become part of a conspiracy to change science education. Mandy Hoffen, however, never expected to find herself in the middle of a conspiracy. As a science teacher of 20 plus years, she worked diligently to meet the needs of her charges, who are currently ninth and tenth grade biology students in an age of standardized testing. The author also creates imaginary dialogues which serve as the theoretical framework for each chapter. Each chapter unfolds in a form of a play with imaginary settings and events that bring Henrietta Lacks back from the grave to participate in conversations about science, society, and social justice. The imaginary conversations are based on the author’s experiences in graduate courses, direct quotations from philosophers of science, historians of science, science educators, curriculum theorists, and stories of students in their study of Henrietta Lacks in a high school biology classroom. The play describes the journey of a graduate student/high school teacher as she researches the importance of the philosophy of science, history of science, science curriculum and social justice in science education. Through reflections on fictional conversations, stories of Henrietta Lacks are examined and described in multiple settings, beginning in an imaginary academic meeting, and ending with student conversations in a classroom. Each setting provides a space for conversations wherein participants explore their personal connections with science, science curriculum, issues of social justice related to science, and Henrietta Lacks.

This book will be of interest to graduate students, scholars, and undergraduates in curriculum studies, educational foundations, and teacher education, and those interested in alternative research methodologies. This is the first book to intentionally address the stories of Henrietta Lacks and their importance in the field of curriculum studies, science studies, and current standardized high school science curriculum.

Dedication. Series Foreword: Landscapes of Education, William Schubert and Ming Fang He. Acknowledgments. Prologue. CHAPTER 1: Mandy’s Adventure Into Conspiracy Begins. CHAPTER 2: Meet Henrietta. CHAPTER 3: Enter Henrietta Lacks. CHAPTER 4: Conspiring to Interrupt Philosophy and History of Science. CHAPTER 5: Conspiring to Interrupt Science and Science Education. CHAPTER 6: Theorizing Practice ~ Practicing Theory. CHAPTER 7: Students Join the Conspiracy and Wear Red to Honor Henrietta Lacks. Epilogue. References. About the Author.