Re‐visions of the holocaust: Textbook images and historical myth‐making

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Abstract

The visual representation of “others”; or those not identified as part of mainstream European‐derived culture is an issue of historiography as well as one of current politics. This paper evaluates the World War II Holocaust of European Jews as it is depicted in a sample of visual images in United States secondary school history textbooks. It finds that the images are not oriented toward historical fact or complexity as much as to enact contemporary goals of societal unity. All the blame for the events is placed on stereotypical “Nazis.”; Absent are the culpabilities of other groups and nationalities and of persecution of minority groups in Western thought and tradition. The study also raises the question of how images can or should be used to heighten social consciousness and provoke public action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-159
Number of pages9
JournalHoward Journal of Communications
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1997

Keywords

  • Historiography
  • Holocaust
  • Myth
  • Photograph
  • Representation of minorities
  • Revisionism
  • Stereotype
  • Textbook

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