- Re-Reading the American History Textbook in the Global Age
- Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy
- Penn State University Press
- Volume 27, Number 2, 2017
- pp. 202-211
- View Citation
This article reconsiders the American history textbook as a pedagogical tool, arguing that with creative use, textbooks can be used to introduce students to historical thought and critical reading as global citizens. Exploring textbooks' treatment of immigration to the United States in the 1920s, the authors examine content related to the topic within two examples: The American Pageant: A History of the Republic (1956) and The American Pageant: A History of the American People (2010), successive editions of the same textbook. The authors argue that problematic textbook content cited by scholars can be turned into valuable pedagogical material if educators use the books to pose three core questions to students: What does it say? What does it mean? and Why does it matter? These questions can lead to a deeper critical analysis of information. Making use of the sample worksheet provided in , instructors can help guide students through textbook content while leading them toward a deeper reading of information. First, students are asked to display a literal level of comprehension. Second, they begin to use historical thinking by analyzing the material's significance and placing it into the proper historiographical context. Finally, students are required to ponder the impact the textbooks have on the creation of global citizens. The fundamental structure of the pedagogy can be configured for any sampling of textbooks and topics. Re-reading the textbook in the global age gives students the necessary skills to navigate the twenty-first century and its diverse offering of media and international issues.