ERIC Number: EJ975145
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 41
Misplaced Multiculturalism: Representations of American Indians in U.S. History Academic Content Standards
Anderson, Carl B.
Curriculum Inquiry, v42 n4 p497-509 Sep 2012
This qualitative textual analysis investigates the ideological lenses through which U.S. History content standards for grades 5-12 for Arizona and Washington frame interactions between American Indians and European Americans during U.S. national development. The study's multiperspective critical conceptual framework interrogates the standards not only on the basis of inclusion of American Indians in curriculum content, but also on the different ways in which this inclusion challenges, problematizes, or disrupts simplistic social representations in curriculum documents. The analysis reveals stark differences between how the respective state education policy makers conceptualize American Indian-European American interactions. In Arizona historical content "is" the curriculum, while in Washington historical content "informs" the curriculum, which is geared toward critical reflectiveness about public policy issues. Both standards documents ultimately fall short in promoting critical thinking about American Indian-European American interactions because they succumb to separate pratfalls of multicultural inclusion orthodoxy. Arizona policy makers tend to shoehorn content on American Indians into a singular and simplistic narrative of U.S. economic, political, and social development, while Washington policy makers tend to construct artificial social binaries to create an accessible and relevant narrative template. The standards documents exemplify the zero-sum nature of curricular politics, wherein we can learn as much about a society's ascendant values from what gets "excluded" from the curriculum as from what gets "included" in the curriculum.
Descriptors: American Indians, Cultural Pluralism, Public Policy, Educational Policy, Social Development, Academic Standards, American Indian History, American Indian Studies, United States History, Qualitative Research, State Standards, Curriculum Research, Content Analysis, Program Content, Politics of Education, Social Attitudes, Political Attitudes, Social Bias
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona; United States; Washington