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Gellman Publishes Open Access Book on Non-White Representation in Textbooks

Mneesha Gellman headshot

Mneesha Gellman‘s latest book, about representation (or lack thereof) of Native Americans and Mexican Americans in U.S. history textbooks, is, like many academic publications is painstakingly researched and documented, and cogently argued.

Unlike many academic publications, it’s also free to anyone with Internet access.

Gellman’s book, Misrepresentation and Silence in United States History Textbooks: The Politics of Historical Oblivion, was published Open Access by Palgrave Macmillan. The free publication was made possible by the Leibnitz Institute for Educational Media/Georg Ekhart Institute in Germany, where Gellman, an Associate Professor in the Marlboro Institute of Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies and Director of the Emerson Prison Initiative, was a Senior Fellow in 2022.

“In order to further more equitable access to publications based on their extraordinary library collection, the Institute generously covered the open access fee for my book, which includes an analysis of a sample of their high school-level US history textbooks. I am delighted that the book is now free to download from the Springer/Palgrave Macmillan website,” Gellman said.

For her book, which also can be purchased in hardcopy and softcopy, Gellman analyzed text and images in U.S. history textbooks published between the 1950s and 2022 to determine to what extent narratives of White Americans dominate or obscure those of BIPOC groups, with a particular focus on Native Americans and Mexican Americans.

“While representation and accurate information of non-White perspectives improves over time, the same limited tropes tend to be recycled from one textbook to the next,” the book states.

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Alongside the textbook analysis, Gellman includes interviews with BIPOC students in California high schools to illustrate how “misrepresentation and absence of BIPOC perspectives in textbooks impact youth identity.”

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