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ERIC Number: EJ1208028
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0737-0008
Historical Inquiry to Challenge the Narrative of Racial Progress
Santiago, Maribel
Cognition and Instruction, v37 n1 p93-117 2019
This article explores how a curricular intervention that merges antiessentialist historical content and historical inquiry plays a role in how students complicate the narrative of racial progress. The 3-day curricular intervention centers on "Mendez v. Westminster," a case about 1940s Mexican American school segregation. The content and historical inquiry activities explore how (a) Mexican Americans claimed legal Whiteness to gain access to better schools and (b) how "Mendez" upheld race and language-based segregation. This article outlines how students engage in 4 levels of historical analysis: evidenceless claims, emerging complexity, relational analysis, and multidimensionality. In each type of analysis, students use the antiessentialist historical content to complicate the narrative of racial progress. They highlight, to different degrees, how racial discriminatory policies adapt to continue upholding discrimination. With the antiessentialist historical content in place, the narrative of racial progress functioned as a template, not to emulate but, rather, as a point of comparison. It encouraged students to engage in a complex analysis where they considered how "Mendez" was an incomplete victory. This research provides insight into levels of analysis that up to now have mostly been theoretical. The larger lesson here, as it applies to how educators teach history, is that (a) the experiences of people of color cannot be essentialized, (b) inquiry can be a useful tool in encouraging historical reasoning that considers such racial/ethnic nuance, and (c) collective memory might be leveraged to encourage students to develop such relational analysis.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 530 Walnut Street Suite 850, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Tel: 215-625-8900; Fax: 215-207-0050; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 11; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California