Race and Curriculum: Music in Childhood Education

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Palgrave Macmillan, Jun 15, 2009 - Education - 264 pages
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This book focuses on the near total attrition of African American students from school music programs and the travesty of democratic education that it symbolizes. It outlines an “anatomy” of dropping out and a tour through the music curriculum’s lesser-known dimensions. Describing how the field became entangled with aesthetics associated with whiteness, Gustafson examines the teaching of singing, listening, and bodily motion in general music classes on all levels. What makes this historical investigation unique is its focus on the body and its linking instructional principles to racialist projects such as minstrelsy, early psychoacoustic experiments, and body culture movements. This book considers how understanding this history makes a space for change without resorting to the simplistic, distorted conclusion that the schools and music teachers are racist.

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About the author (2009)

Ruth Iana Gustafson received her PhD in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has taught in both private institutions and in public schools where she was an educational consultant in the Minority Achievement Program in the Madison School District. She is currently an Honorary Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Madison where she taught education and music education for several years. She has published in the fields of history of education, comparative education, and music education. Her latest article, “Drifters and the Dancing Mad: The Public School Music Curriculum and the Fabrication of Boundaries for Participation,” appears in Curriculum Inquiry, June, 2008. 

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