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ERIC Number: ED540343
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jan
Pages: 64
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Recasting History: Are Race, Class, and Gender Dominating American History? A Study of U.S. History Courses at the University of Texas and Texas A&M University
Fonte, Richard W.; Wood, Peter W.; Thorne, Ashley
National Association of Scholars
In 1971, the state of Texas enacted a legislative requirement that students at public institutions complete two courses in American history. With that mandate in mind, the Texas Association of Scholars and the National Association of Scholars' Center for the Study of the Curriculum proposed to determine how students today meet the requirement, and what history departments offer as a means of doing so. What courses can students take, and what vision of U.S. history do those courses present? This study is the result of the authors' investigation. Their report focuses on the University of Texas at Austin (UT) and Texas A&M University at College Station (A&M), flagship institutions serving large undergraduate populations. For this study they examined all 85 sections of lower-division American history courses at A&M and UT in the Fall 2010 semester that satisfied the U.S. history requirement. They looked at the assigned readings for each course and the research interests of the forty-six faculty members who taught them. They also compared faculty members' research interests with the readings they chose to assign. They found that all too often the course readings gave strong emphasis to race, class, or gender (RCG) social history, an emphasis so strong that it diminished the attention given to other subjects in American history (such as military, diplomatic, religious, intellectual history). The result is that these institutions frequently offered students a less-than-comprehensive picture of U.S. history. They found, however, that the situation was far more problematic at the University of Texas than at Texas A&M University. If colleges and universities are to provide students with full and sound knowledge of American history, some things need to change. Teachers of American history should take race, class, and gender into account and should help students understand those aspects of history, but those perspectives should not take precedence over all others. The authors offer the following recommendations: (1) Review the curriculum; (2) If necessary, convene an external review; (3) Hire faculty members with a broader range of research interests; (4) Keep broad courses broad; (5) Identify essential reading; (6) Design better courses; (7) Diversify graduate programs; (8) Evaluate conformity with laws; (9) Publish better books; and (10) Depoliticize history. Appended are: (1) Tables; (2) Texas State History Requirement; and (3) Broad Characteristics of Eleven Discipline Categories. (Contains 17 tables, 32 figures and 54 footnotes.)
National Association of Scholars. 221 Witherspoon Street 2nd Floor, Princeton, NJ 08542-3215. Tel: 609-683-7878; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Association of Scholars (NAS)
Identifiers - Location: Texas