Curriculum for Justice and Harmony : Deliberation, Knowledge, and Action in Social and Civic Education book cover
1st Edition

Curriculum for Justice and Harmony
Deliberation, Knowledge, and Action in Social and Civic Education

ISBN 9780367445034
Published September 30, 2021 by Routledge
228 Pages

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Book Description

Barton and Ho present a global vision of social and civic education, one that reorients the field toward justice and harmony. Drawing from diverse philosophical and cultural traditions, as well as empirical research, they introduce curriculum principles designed to motivate and inform students’ thoughtful and compassionate deliberation of public issues.

This book argues that the curriculum must prepare young people to take action on issues of justice and harmony—societal ideals that are central to all communities. Effective action depends on deliberation characterized by emotional commitment, collaborative problem-solving, and engagement with diverse perspectives and forms of expression.

Deliberation for public action also requires knowledge—of people’s lives and experiences, their insights into social issues, and strategies for advancing justice and harmony. These curriculum principles are illustrated through case studies of public housing, food insecurity, climate change, gender bias, public health, exploitation of domestic workers, incarceration of racialized minorities, the impact of development and environmental change on Indigenous communities, and other pressing global concerns.

For additional resources and related information, please visit the authors’ website,

Table of Contents

Preface;   1 A Vision for Social and Civic Education;  2 Justice and Capabilities;  3 Critical Harmony;  4 Deliberatively Informed Action;   5 Curriculum for Deliberatively Informed Action;  6 Extending Benevolence;   7 Listening to Distant Voices;  8 Taking Wise Action;  9 Civil Society;  10 Civility and Incivility;  11 Environmental Justice and Harmony

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Keith C. Barton is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at Indiana University. His research and teaching focus on engaging children and adolescents in explorations of history, human rights, and other social and civic issues. He is co-author, with Linda S. Levstik, of Teaching History for the Common Good.

Li-Ching Ho is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Faculty Director of Global Engagement in the School of Education. Her research focuses on global, environmental, and multicultural civic education.




As we witness pervasive inequity and exclusion on a global scale, educators must refocus on the communal good, the health of our planet, and the fair distribution of resources, with renewed commitment to "preparing young people for a life of public participation." Barton and Ho speak to social and civic education curriculum, undergirded by justice and harmony, and informed by intersecting world perspectives and philosophies. The international education community will find much relevant wisdom to address their own local concerns, yet this volume transcends the limitations of specific nations and contexts to emphasize our shared humanity and our common destinies.

A. Lin Goodwin, Dean and Professor, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong.

Thought provoking, relevant, and timely. Kudos to Barton and Ho. They appeal to our hearts and heads in a thoughtful and compelling way that speaks to how justice and harmony can and should inform our collective action. This book offers an essential blueprint about how we prepare young citizens for public life in a diverse society. If you are looking for a book that offers knowledge, inspiration and hope this is the book that you need. Barton and Ho compel us to know, care and act.

Tyrone Howard, Professor & Pritzker Family Endowed Chair in Education to Strengthen Families, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California Los Angeles.

The combination of what Barton and Ho lay out in this curricular vision—and especially the attention to the role of listening, compassion, and humility—offers a powerful set of principles and thought-provoking roadmap for social and civic education. Barton and Ho’s work offers readers a plethora of theoretically rich and practically grounded material that invites many important conversations for social and civic educators. Among the many contributions of this book, its global focus, public emphasis, action orientation, concrete examples, and focus on environmental justice and harmony are particular strengths.

Hilary Conklin (2022): A roadmap for global, humanizing, and collaborative civic education, Theory & Research in Social Education

Social studies educators and curriculum writers should read Curriculum for Justice and Harmony. [As the book makes clear], educators and curriculum writers should feel compelled to analyze what the true purpose of their curriculum is and what exactly they want students to learn from it.

Brittany Intravaia, Teachers College Record, Date Published: March 08, 2022



Barton and Ho call for a complete reorientation of social and civic education. They propose a curriculum that centers public action, an expanded view of deliberation, and an alloy of justice and harmony. The authors make a groundbreaking proposal here, just what’s needed to bring clarity of purpose, vivid examples, and a global perspective to education for democracy.

Walter C. Parker, Professor Emeritus, College of Education, University of Washington