DOI link for Contextual Gatekeeping
Contextual Gatekeeping book
This chapter explores the underlying variables and ultimate manifestations of context that serve to inhibit or provide pathways to the discussion of controversial histories in classrooms. It is certainly easier and safer to teach topics, both historical and contemporary, that are not controversial, but the questions that are most salient to life as a citizen exist in inverse proportions to the certainty and infallibility that schools provide (Thorndike, 1937). Students should explore the most genuine problems of the past, present, and future, especially those topics that lack agreement. The enterprise of broaching controversial and difficult histories, whereby students critically and continually renegotiate the narratives of their contextual past within the parameters of global and domestic dynamics (Hein & Selden, 2000), is imperative for all free and open societies, as well as those that aspire to be.