Educational choreography: The artistic, the pedagogical, and spiritual fashioning of a people. The work of Maria Harris

Linda M Davies, Fordham University


This is the first attempt at a comprehensive examination of the full corpus of the work of Maria Harris. The study seeks to demonstrate that Harris' seminal contribution was to provide an alternative lens through which to view the field of religious education, namely, the prism of the artistic. This research organizes, analyzes and interprets the corpus of Harris' work thematically. The discover of movement in the body of her work is interpreted in three major movements: The Artistic, Curriculum and Teaching, Spirituality, and one final half step, The Profession. The study attends to the artistic, addresses curriculum and teaching, unveils the spirituality of women, and discloses the identity of the profession as Harris' life work of educational choreography. The work itself seeks to incarnate this creative process by sketching a portrait of Harris' vision of education, beginning with directing the body in infancy, and concluding with letting go of bodily life in elder hood. The first major motif, in the triadic conceptual framework, is The Artistic. This initial theme discloses the aesthetic as a vision in fashioning curriculum design, pedagogical processes, and spiritual journeying, and examines the use of the arts in education. The second motif, Curriculum and Teaching, unveils the meaning of curriculum as an activity of conservation, and teaching as an act of liberation. The final major theme attends to the arena of Spirituality, with a focus on women's spirituality, that comes to the fore in the latter period of Harris' writings. The study concludes with a minor theme that surfaces in Maria Harris' earlier writings, namely, The Profession. This motif explicates Harris' effort to establish religious education as a distinct profession and field, and the Director of Religious Education as a professional role within it.

Subject Area

Religious education|Educational theory

Recommended Citation

Davies, Linda M, "Educational choreography: The artistic, the pedagogical, and spiritual fashioning of a people. The work of Maria Harris" (2006). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3205538.