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International Journal of Korean History > Volume 1(1); 2000 > Article
International Journal of Korean History 2000;1(1): 91-111.
The Portrayal of Korea: A Critical Analysis of Korean History in American Secondary Schools
Seon-mee Kim
BK21 Research Professor, Hanyang University
This paper attempts to review Korean history as depicted in world history textbooks for American secondary schools. Since Korean history presented within these textbooks will have a great influence on how students perceive Korea and understand Korean history, they should be written in an accurate and coherent manner, and well-integrated with supplementary texts to effectively promote reader comprehension. It is therefore essential to select and narratively reconstruct core historical events and to organize chapters in consideration of their educational impact on the comprehension of Korean history. This study thus attempts to analyze the depiction of Korean history in terms of coherence, topic selection, accuracy, and perspective with attention given to the coherence and effectiveness of supplementary sections, in contrast to previous studies that focused only on examining historical accuracy. The four world history textbooks examined are considered representative textbooks, are the most widely used in the U.S. secondary schools to date, and cover ancient through modem world history. Pedagogical problems proliferate in the historical accounts and supplementary sections on Korean history in textbooks. Outright errors and bias in the selection and interpretation of history have been noted that will unintentionally mislead students in their interpretation of the Korean past that may be largely determined by the Eurocentric perspective that informs the narration of Korean history.
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