A litany of white men : the Brazilian textbook industry and the reproduction of old canons

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2017-05-04

Authors

Sanchez, Giovana Romano

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Abstract

This work investigates the structural motives for the reproduction of a traditional white and male narrative in Brazilian history textbooks. To understand the resistance to change, this study combines quantitative and qualitative methodologies, analyzing both the content of a popular high school history collection and looking at textbook’s contexts of production, evaluation and use in class. First, a content analysis with an intersectional approach applied to all three volumes of História, Sociedade e Cidadania reveals the extent to which the main protagonists in the narrative are white, male, and in positions of power—and to which women, especially indigenous, black and Asian women, are underrepresented. The second part of the project leaves the book to investigate the structures of production, evaluation and uses of textbooks in Brazil, drawing from official documents and semi-structured interviews with a school teacher, textbook editors and a federal evaluator. This work argues that, even though in the last decade the black and indigenous movements were guaranteed legal rights towards representation in the curricula, a combination of four factors—the market, the state, the existing systems of oppression and the ways books are used in class—contribute to the maintenance of a canonical version of history in Brazilian textbooks

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