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books about Textbook bias
Schoolbook Nation: Conflicts over American History Textbooks from the Civil War to the Present
University of Michigan Press, 2004
Library of Congress E175.85.M67 2003 | Dewey Decimal 973.071273
"A superior book. . . . Many readers will be surprised to see that today's arguments about history education follow the culture wars that go back to almost the beginning of the republic. Moreau's writing is engaging, with brilliant flashes of insight, as well as balance and wit."
-Gary B. Nash, Director of the National Center for History in the Schools
Taking Frances FitzGerald's textbook study America Revised as a point of departure, Joseph Moreau in Schoolbook Nation challenges FitzGerald's premise that the 1960s were the beginning of the end of the glory days of American history education.
Moreau recounts how in the late twentieth century, cultural commentators such as historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and politician Newt Gingrich preached that a new identity crisis had shaken American history in the sixties, and that the grand unified view of our past had given way to various interest groups, who dismantled the old national narrative while demanding a more "inclusive" curriculum for their children.
Moreau discovered, however, that American history, while grand, has never been unified. Delving into more than 100 history books from the last 150 years, the author reveals that the efforts of pressure groups to influence the history curriculum are nearly as old as the mustiest textbook. "For those who would influence textbooks and teaching-Protestant elites in the 1870s, Irish-Americans in the 1920s, and conservative politicians today-the sky has always been falling," according to Moreau.
Schoolbook Nation offers a history lesson of its own: when the story of the past is written or rewritten, truth is often a victim. With its comprehensive treatment of the subjects of honesty and politics in the teaching of history, this is an essential book on the side of truth in a complex debate.
Unmastering the Script: Education, Critical Race Theory, and the Struggle to Reconcile the Haitian Other in Dominican Identity
Sheridan Wigginton and Richard T. Middleton IV
University of Alabama Press, 2019
Library of Congress F1941.B55 | Dewey Decimal 305.80097293
Analyzes textbooks in the Dominican Republic for evidence of reproducing Haitian Otherness
Unmastering the Script: Education, Critical Race Theory, and the Struggle to Reconcile the Haitian Other in Dominican Identity examines how school curriculum–based representations of Dominican identity navigate black racial identity, its relatedness to Haiti, and the culturally entrenched pejorative image of the Haitian Other in Dominican society. Wigginton and Middleton analyze how social science textbooks and historical biographies intended for young Dominicans reflect an increasing shift toward a clear and public inclusion of blackness in Dominican identity that serves to renegotiate the country’s long-standing antiblack racial master script.
The authors argue that although many of the attempts at this inclusion reflect a lessening of “black denial,” when considered as a whole, the materials often struggle to find a consistent and coherent narrative for the place of blackness within Dominican identity, particularly regarding the ways in which blackness continues to be meaningfully related to the otherness of Haitian racial identity. Unmastering the Script approaches the text materials as an example of “reconstructing” and “unburying” an African past, supporting the uneven, slow, and highly context-specific nature of the process.
This work engages with multiple disciplines including history, anthropology, education, and race studies, building on a new wave of Dominican scholarship that considers how contemporary perspectives of Dominican identity both accept the existence of an African past and seek to properly weigh its importance. The use of critical race theory as the framework facilitates unfolding the past political and legal agendas of governing elites in the Dominican Republic and also helps to unlock the nuance of an increasingly black-inclusive Dominican identity. In addition, this framework allows the unveiling of some of the socially damaging effects the Haitian Other master script can have on children, particularly those of Haitian ancestry, in the Dominican Republic.