Environmentalism in Textbooks

Tricia Bromley sent me another terrific paper, written with John Meyer and Chiqui Ramirez, coming out of the increasingly-prolific comparative project on textbooks.

The paper shows vividly how environmentalism is increasingly brought into the school curriculum… and that the trend is part of a broader “package” of world society themes in education, which they call “post-national” curricular emphases — such as a focus on human rights or international issues generally.

Piece by piece, this project is building the case that school systems increasingly serve as repositories of a common global culture.  And, given the obvious role of schools in transmitting knowledge and culture, the implications are seismic.  Whereas many treat educational enrollment measures as an indicator of human capital, I see an indicator of the worldwide penetration of global culture (or in David Frank’s terms, an incredibly important “receptor site” that imports and transmits global culture).

Definitely worth reading.  Here’s the paper:

Bromley Meyer Ramirez Environmentalism in Textbooks 6.2010.pdf

This is the “short” version.   They have a longer version with extensive appendices that show many more examples from various textbooks.  The extra examples are terrific and really give a sense of the many ways that the environment shows up in the curriculum… from old-school maps of a country’s climate zones or mineral resources (something I remember from my childhood) to more “contemporary” discussions of global warming, etc.  A more systematic treatment of that, alone, could make another great paper.  The long version is quite a download (60+ megabytes)… Here is a link.


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