Class #8 March 6
1: Chapter 3.1, “The emergence of democratic citizenship education”
2: ‘Some people even died’: Martin Luther King, Jr., the civil rights movement and the politics
of remembrance in elementary classrooms’, John Wills (Moodle)
- Are efforts to include more women and people of color in the US history curriculum simply
‘good history’, or another example of ‘political correctness’?
- Struggles over what pasts we should remember and the ‘correct’way to remember them have
become more evident during the culture wars or history wars of recent years.
- The King holiday, like Black History Month, can be criticized as a token attempt to include
African-Americans in the nation’s past, a mere ‘add-on’that does little to revise or challenge
exclusionary narratives of US history.
- The signiﬁcance of commemoration in constituting and maintaining collective memories of
the past suggests the importance of schools and classrooms as public66 spaces for producing
collective representations and interpretations of history.
most people’s knowledge of the past comes primarily from these commemorative activities
and occasions and not from formal study of history
- Schooling, or more often the school curriculum, especially textbooks, is often mentioned as an
important social and institutional space for the cultural construction of the past in studies of
- At the same time the use of these cultural texts in narrating the past is constrained by ‘social
rules of remembrance’, normative rules in established social traditions of remembering that
‘tell us quite speciﬁcally what we should remember and what we can or must forget’
- It is the speciﬁc social rules of remembrance surrounding the King holiday, enforced by the
teachers in these two classrooms in lessons and discussions with their students, that structure
the memory work accomplished in these classrooms.
- Classrooms are important but nevertheless constrained spaces for commemorating the past
- Within these classrooms the curriculum in use in observance of the King holi- day provides
students with a constrained memory of the past, one that effectively deﬂects and silences what
the students seem intent on remembering.
- Time is always a constraining factor in schools and classrooms, and the lack of time can
dictate how open or closed a cla