The Construction of Women in US History Textbooks
Keywords:Systemic functional linguistics, Thematic choice, US history, Women
Due the influence of historical perceptions on contemporary world views and the capacity of language to reflect values and ideas, the critical examination of how history is framed and taught is a necessary academic endeavor. The study of textbooks is particularly crucial because of their authoritative nature and fundamental impact on education. Through a systemic functional linguistic analysis of selected texts from an introductory, college-level US history textbook, this paper examines the construction of women in educational historical narratives. Three selections focused on women were selected from textbook chapters, each representing a different century since the founding of the United States, and each selection was analyzed using the theme/rheme construct. The results underscore the ongoing limitations to the portrayal of women’s roles and agency in history textbooks as well as concerns of reinforced patriarchal constructions of power and women’s societal place that are reflected at the level of linguistic choices in textbook-writing.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Kylie Jabjiniak; Anne McCabe
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