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ERIC Number: EJ1149964
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1535-0584
Landscapes of Learning, West Virginia's Textbook Controversy, and the Culture Wars
Watras, Joseph
American Educational History Journal, v41 n1 p183-198 2014
Over thirty ago, Maxine Greene published a collection of essays with the title, "Landscapes of Learning," more than thirty years earlier. In that text, she argued that the title illuminated the ways people formed perspectives that shaped their attitudes and behaviors. In her text, Greene described how people had to be grounded in their own histories if they wanted to seek new understandings and to improve society. She suggested that one way they could perceive things differently was to look upon events through the eyes of other people. She called the ability to see things in different patterns being wide awake. This implied that people with such senses could imagine different possibilities than those suggested by the conditions that surrounded them. This practice could lead to critical consciousness and personal liberation (Greene 1978, 1-4). This essay will apply Greene's ideas to an explanation of a disturbance that began in Kanawha County, West Virginia when schools opened on September 3, 1974. The focus of the controversy was on the language arts textbooks the Kanawha County school board had selected. Protestors complained the books made slang appear as acceptable as Standard English and portrayed traditional values as foolish (National Education Association 1975, 20-22). The point for this essay is that Greene's notion of landscapes of learning suggests how the controversy spun out of control, preceded the conservative backlash of the 1980s, and predicted the culture wars of the 1990s. In Kanawha County, the pattern of the controversy was one in which members of each side held closely to a particular landscape, projected equally narrow views on members of opposing groups, and refused to consider other alternatives.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: West Virginia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A