1st Edition

Dismantling Orientalist Representations in US Education Schooling and Otherness in the Social Studies Classroom

By Daniel Osborn Copyright 2025
    256 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book examines the evolving role played by the social studies classroom in shaping national identity and contributing to Orientalism, which depicts the peoples of the Middle East as "the Other" relative to those of the United States and Europe. 

    Building upon the momentum of critical approaches to examining the nature of knowledge, the role of schools in society, and the trends within social studies education and its hidden curriculum, the volume crucially shifts the focus towards a more global emphasis, examining the nature of Orientalism and the school as a setting where Orientalist logic and assumptions about the Middle East and its inhabitants are reified. Focusing on the ecosystem of social studies knowledge production and working within the sociology of knowledge, it traces this evolution across the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.  

    A novel and unique exploration of knowledge construction, and presenting a vision for a more nuanced and multifaceted portrayal of the Middle East that corrects for the deleterious aspects of Orientalism while avoiding a romanticized apologetic, it will appeal to scholars, researchers and educators with interests in decolonizing education, social studies education, the history of education, and race and ethnicity studies. 

    Introduction: Memory, Identity, and Otherness in Education

    1. Understanding Orientalism

    2. Race and Representation in Textbooks

    3. From Antiquity to the Ottomans

    4. From Colonialism to Modernization

    5. Despotism, Decline, Difference, and Diffusion

    6. Teachers’ Reflections on Teaching the Middle East

    Conclusion: Dismantling Orientalism and Reimagining Education


    Daniel Osborn is an instructor at Boston University Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, USA, and an education nonprofit professional specializing in history and social studies curriculum writing and teacher professional development.