ERIC Number: EJ733292
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Apr
The Limits of Master Narratives in History Textbooks: An Analysis of Representations of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Alridge, Derrick P.
Teachers College Record, v108 n4 p662-686 Apr 2006
In this study, I argue that American history textbooks present discrete, heroic, one-dimensional, and neatly packaged master narratives that deny students a complex, realistic, and rich understanding of people and events in American history. In making this argument, I examine the master narratives of Martin Luther King, Jr., in high school history textbooks and show how textbooks present prescribed, oversimplified, and uncontroversial narratives of King that obscure important elements in King's life and thought. Such master narratives, I contend, permeate most history textbooks and deny students critical lenses through which to examine, analyze, and interpret social issues today. The article concludes with suggestions about how teachers might begin to address the current problem of master narratives and offer alternative approaches to presenting U.S. history.
Descriptors: United States History, Textbooks, Personal Narratives, Social Problems, Teaching Methods, High School Students, Secondary School Teachers, African Americans, Civil Rights, History Instruction, Nontraditional Education, Case Studies
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Publication Type: Information Analyses; Journal Articles
Education Level: High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A