Critical Theory and History Education


Critical Theory and History Education


Document Type

Book Chapter


Chapter 11 in The Wiley International Handbook of History Teaching and Learning, edited by Scott Alan Metzger and Lauren McArthur Harris.

Chapter description:

This chapter explores the epistemological underpinnings of critical—postmodern, poststructural, postcolonial, feminist, and psychoanalytic—theories in history education and their potential in, and impact on, the field. Following an introduction about the impact critical theories have had on the discipline of history and what those might mean in K-12 history education classrooms, the chapter includes an examination of how those theories have been used to explore: (1) representations of race and gender in textbooks, standards, and curricula; (2) difficult knowledge and the affective in encounters with history; (3) history education as experienced in history museums and monuments.

Book description:

A comprehensive review of the research literature on history education with contributions from international experts

The Wiley International Handbook of History Teaching and Learning draws on contributions from an international panel of experts. Their writings explore the growth the field has experienced in the past three decades and offer observations on challenges and opportunities for the future. The contributors represent a wide range of pioneering, established, and promising new scholars with diverse perspectives on history education.

Comprehensive in scope, the contributions cover major themes and issues in history education including: policy, research, and societal contexts; conceptual constructs of history education; ideologies, identities, and group experiences in history education; practices and learning; historical literacies: texts, media, and social spaces; and consensus and dissent. This vital resource:

  • Contains original writings by more than 40 scholars from seven countries
  • Identifies major themes and issues shaping history education today
  • Highlights history education as a distinct field of scholarly inquiry and academic practice
  • Presents an authoritative survey of where the field has been and offers a view of what the future may hold

Written for scholars and students of education as well as history teachers with an interest in the current issues in their field, The Wiley International Handbook of History Teaching and Learning is a comprehensive handbook that explores the increasingly global field of history education as it has evolved to the present day.



Publication Date





New York


postmodernism, poststructuralism, postcolonialism, feminism race gender psychoanalytic theories difficult knowledge, museums, memorials


© 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Critical Theory and History Education

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