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Through the “Western” gaze Chinese history in Ontario High School World History Syllabus and textbooks, 1947‐ca. 1980s

Through the “Western” gaze Chinese history in Ontario High School World History Syllabus and... Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to examine the conceptions of Chineseness and the perceptions of China in Ontario's High School History Curriculum from 1945 to the end of the 1980s. Design/methodology/approach – The paper examines the syllabus and textbooks in the period that were taught in schools in Ontario. Curriculum guidelines and documents published by the Ontario Department (later Ministry) of Education were studied, as well as the Circular 14, which lists the approved textbooks from which the textbooks where chosen for this paper. The impact‐response and tradition‐modernity approaches to the study and writing of Chinese enabled the unpacking of the western‐centric presuppositions in the textbooks. Findings – From the onset, the Chinese history that was taught and presented was a western‐centric one. The paper demonstrates that post Second World War Chinese history that was taught via the Ontario High School History Curriculum and textbooks reflected a view of Chineseness that regards the Chinese and the Chinese civilization was regarded as essentialized, backward and static vis‐à‐vis the modern West. Implicit in such a conception of Chineseness is that of western superiority over the Chinese civilization. Originality/value – There have been few studies on how the history of Asia is represented in Canadian school history. Knowing how Chinese history is represented in Ontario High Schools is an interesting case study of how white settler societies viewed and understood China. This study also sheds light on the broader issue of the problematic at play when Asian history is taught and represented in other white settler societies like Australia, New Zealand and the USA. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Education Review Emerald Publishing

Through the “Western” gaze Chinese history in Ontario High School World History Syllabus and textbooks, 1947‐ca. 1980s

History of Education Review , Volume 42 (2): 13 – Oct 11, 2013

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0819-8691
DOI
10.1108/HER-10-2012-0035
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to examine the conceptions of Chineseness and the perceptions of China in Ontario's High School History Curriculum from 1945 to the end of the 1980s. Design/methodology/approach – The paper examines the syllabus and textbooks in the period that were taught in schools in Ontario. Curriculum guidelines and documents published by the Ontario Department (later Ministry) of Education were studied, as well as the Circular 14, which lists the approved textbooks from which the textbooks where chosen for this paper. The impact‐response and tradition‐modernity approaches to the study and writing of Chinese enabled the unpacking of the western‐centric presuppositions in the textbooks. Findings – From the onset, the Chinese history that was taught and presented was a western‐centric one. The paper demonstrates that post Second World War Chinese history that was taught via the Ontario High School History Curriculum and textbooks reflected a view of Chineseness that regards the Chinese and the Chinese civilization was regarded as essentialized, backward and static vis‐à‐vis the modern West. Implicit in such a conception of Chineseness is that of western superiority over the Chinese civilization. Originality/value – There have been few studies on how the history of Asia is represented in Canadian school history. Knowing how Chinese history is represented in Ontario High Schools is an interesting case study of how white settler societies viewed and understood China. This study also sheds light on the broader issue of the problematic at play when Asian history is taught and represented in other white settler societies like Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

Journal

History of Education ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 11, 2013

Keywords: Chinese history; Chineseness; Impact‐response; Ontario High Schools; Tradition‐modernity

References