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ERIC Number: EJ945851
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jun
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0258-2236
"Behind the Doors of Learning": The Transmission of Racist and Sexist Discourses in a History Classroom
Wilmot, Mark; Naidoo, Devika
Perspectives in Education, v29 n2 p28-38 Jun 2011
Now that the doors of historically white schools have officially been opened to Black learners, this paper presents a critical analysis of discourses of domination transmitted behind the doors of learning in a History classroom. While the official History curriculum (NCS, 2002) advocates multi-perspectival epistemological approaches, this paper illustrates the subordination of epistemic goals to racist and sexist ideological goals through the transmission of racist and sexist discourses. A teacher's lessons were observed, audio-taped, transcribed and analysed according to critical discourse theory. The conventional Grade 10 topic, The conquest of the Aztecs by the Spanish, was mediated through racist and sexist formal and informal discursive strategies such as the use of teacher power to silence contestation of in accurate statements; the use of metaphor, simile, and binary oppositions to convey prejudicial meanings, derogation, inferiorisation, ridicule, jokes, disclaimers, and stereotyping that subsumed the historical topic being taught. The analysis exposes the informal yet effective workings of power for the perpetuation of discourses of domination in the History lesson. Such discourses subjected learners to a form of symbolic violence which may lead students to ontological misrecognition of self and race.
Perspectives in Education. Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein 9301, South Africa. Fax: +27-51-401-7044; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 10; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A