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ERIC Number: EJ936553
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Pages: 26
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
High School World History Textbooks: An Analysis of Content Focus and Chronological Approaches
Marino, Michael P.
History Teacher, v44 n3 p421-446 May 2011
Research about social studies textbooks overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that these books are unpopular and often the subject of intense criticisms. These criticisms concern anything ranging from the language they employ, to the way they are utilized by teachers, to the undue influence they exert on shaping and defining curriculum. This paper will look more closely at world history textbooks, focusing specifically on how these texts organize and present the topic of world history. Analysis of the historical content found in five leading high school world history texts yields several important findings. First, if these texts are placed within a broad construct of curriculum change as it relates to the world history movement, then they do show some evidence of the impact of this reform effort. All the volumes organize themselves around various themes that define and unite the history of the world. Further, the world history movement stresses the commonality of the human experience and the interconnectedness of the various regions of the world. It also emphasizes key concepts, ideas, and premises that can help unify the histories of the world's people. The texts all demonstrate adherence to these different concepts, a fact that is evident in their use of visual materials and maps, their organizational structures, and very specific reminders, add-ons, and activities that continually illustrate these concepts to readers. The influence of the world history movement is obvious, and the books give evidence to the success of this curriculum reform movement. The texts also show that while it is easy to pay heed to novel ideals about world history and historical chronology through maps, photographs, catchy titles, and amusing anecdotes, it is considerably more difficult to carry these concepts through the actual narrative and scope of a textbook. (Contains 7 tables and 50 notes.)
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840-1601. Tel: 562-985-2573; Fax: 562-985-5431; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A