What Shall We Tell the Children?

International Perspectives on School History Textbooks

Edited by:
Stuart J. Foster, University of London
Keith A. Crawford, Newcastle University, Australia

A volume in the series: Research in Curriculum and Instruction. Editor(s): Cheryl J. Craig, University of Houston.

Published 2006

The pages of this book illustrate that as instruments of socialization and sites of ideological discourse textbooks are powerful artefacts in introducing young people to a specific historical, cultural and socioeconomic order. Crucially, exploring the social construction of school textbooks and the messages they impart provides an important context from within which to critically investigate the dynamics underlying the cultural politics of education and the social movements that form it and which are formed by it.

The school curriculum is essentially the knowledge system of a society incorporating its values and its dominant ideology. The curriculum is not “our knowledge” born of a broad hegemonic consensus, rather it is a battleground in which cultural authority and the right to define what is labelled legitimate knowledge is fought over. As each chapter in this book illustrates curriculum as theory and practice has never been, and can never be, divorced from the ethical, economic, political, and cultural conflicts of society which impact so deeply upon it. We cannot escape the clear implication that questions about what knowledge is of most worth and about how it should be organized and taught are problematic, contentious and very serious.

Foreword. Preface. Introduction: The Critical Importance of History Textbook Research, Stuart Foster and Keith Crawford. Defining the Boundaries of “Chineseness”: Tibet, Mongolia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong in Mainland History Textbooks, Edward Vickers. Culture Wars: Japanese History Textbooks and the Construction of Official Memory, Keith Crawford. A Gendered National Identity: An Analysis of North and South Korean Textbooks, Misook Kim. Beyond the National and the Transnational: Perspectives of WWII in U.S.A, Italian, Swedish, Japanese, and English School History Textbooks, Jason Nicholls. The Construction of European Identity 1945–Present, Yasemin Soysal. From Evasion to a Crucial Tool of Moral and Political Education: Teaching National Socialism and the Holocaust in Germany, Falk Pingel. Whose History? Portrayal of Immigrant Groups in U.S. History Textbooks, 1800–Present, Stuart Foster. The Islamization of Pakistani Social Studies Textbooks, Yvette Claire Rosser. Reconstructing the Past, Constructing the Future in Israeli Textbooks, Dan Porat. Control through Education? The Politicization of Israeli and Palestinian School Textbooks, Jonathan Kriener. The Dynamics of History Textbook Production During South Africa’s Educational Transformation, Rob Siebörger. About the Contributors.