Silent Voices, Silent Stories: Japanese Canadians in Social Studies Textbooks

  • Jennifer Tupper

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to illustrate the importance of reading social studies textbooks through a critical lens. Students and teachers who engage in critical interrogation of texts will broaden their understanding of history and the inequities that have shaped Canadian society over time. Informed by both critical and postmodern theory, this analysis of three commonly used grade 10 social studies textbooks elucidates the limitations inherent in each textbook's discussion of the history of Japanese Canadians. It also illustrates the failure to contextualize specific events in history, potentially leaving students with a narrow conception of historical events. Historical sources written by Japanese Canadians were used to gain a better understanding of their experiences and to strengthen the analysis. The implications of the limitations for students and teachers are discussed, as well as how textbooks can be used more productively in social studies classrooms.
Published
2002-12-01