Curricula are historically formed within systems of ideas that inscribe styles of reasoning, standards and conceptual distinctions in school practices and its subjects. Further, the systems of reasoning embodied in schooling are the effects of power. That power is in the manner in which the categories and distinctions of curriculum shape and fashion interpretation and action. In this sense, curriculum is a practice of social regulation and the effect of power. The question of what is curriculumhistory is also a question about the politics of the knowledge embodied in disciplinary work. Two enduring assumptions of the Enlightenment inscribed in contemporary educational history and research are explored. One identifies social progress as tied to an evolutionary conception of change. The second relates to the epistemological assumption that inquiry must identify the actors as causal agents who bring or suppress social change. Both of these assumptions are, I argue, grounded in a particular doctrine of modernity and the effects of power. The essay argues for an alternative conception of intellectualwork and its relation to socialchange. It does this through viewing intellectual work as a strategy for destabilizing the conventions of reason` that limit the consideration of alternatives.