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Textbook Violence

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Facing issues of violence and conflict, authors of textbooks for Religious Education (RE) choose a range of different strategies. While some try to write as non-controversially as possible about such issues, other authors choose to leave them completely out. Even in the academic study of religions, a well-established perspective is that religion is primarily something good, and important for societies as well as for human development. Such basic presumptions/perspectives are often nurtured by an apologetic orientation to the representation of religion. In some cases, religious violence and conflict are therefore considered disruptive forces that destroy what is “true,” “authentic” and “valuable” in religion.

Textbook Violence offers critical perspectives on how textbooks deal or not deal with issues of conflict and violence in religions. The volume’s contributions provide examples from textbooks for university level as well as from RE in schools, and include discussions of conflict and violence in a range of different religious traditions. The contributors bring issues of religious violence and conflict into focus through such questions as: In what way is violence and/or conflict treated? Who are the authorial voices? What are their aims? Who is the reader being addressed? How are the representations of religions framed by value judgments?

Beyond certain obvious ideological considerations (e.g., nationalism; the interests of religious pedagogues who contribute to textbooks in some countries), there are a number of different factors shaping representations of religions in textbooks – from commercial considerations and statutory stipulations to situations where publishers and national examination boards work closely together to produce textbooks with contents keyed to national exams. This means that authors have to face different expectations and considerations when writing textbooks. Textbook Violence will also include reflections on the choices such authors are facing.

Published: Aug 7, 2017

Section Chapter Authors
Introduction Bengt-Ove Andreassen, James Lewis
Chapter 1
Reading Beyond the Lines: What Students Learn from their History Textbooks Michael Romanowski
Chapter 2
This is not a Religion! 'The Trechery of the Images' of Aum, Yasukuni and Al-Qaeda in Japanese Textbooks Satoko Fujiwara
Chapter 3
Ignore the War: Concentrate on Peace: Textbook Analysis of Strategies in Post-conflict Societies: A Praxeological Approach Zrinka Stimac
Chapter 4
Colonial Conflicts: Absence, Inclusion and Indigenization in Textbook Presentations of Indigenous Peoples Torjer Olsen
Chapter 5
Talking about Conflicts in Pursuit of the Common Good, or how to Handle Sensible Topics while Learning about Religions: The Approach of Ethics and Religious Culture Textbooks in Quebec Sivane Hirsch
Chapter 6
Representations of Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust in RE Textbooks for Norwegian Upper Secondary School Suzanne Thobro
Chapter 7
Aniconism and Images in Norwegian RE-textbooks: Representations and Historical Change Sissel Undheim
Chapter 8
Undermining Authority: The Representation of Buddhism and Discourse on Modernity in Religion Education Textbooks Kai Nyborg
Chapter 9
Significant or Insignificant Absence? Religion and Violence in RE Textbooks for Norwegian Teacher Education Bengt-Ove Andreassen
Chapter 10
Toward an Appreciation of Non-Normativity: A Quasi-Autobiography Aaron Hughes
Chapter 11
Self-Contradictions and Projected Otherness: Images of Sikh Militancy in the Writings of Orientalist Scholars and Contemporary Textbook Authors James Lewis
End Matter
Index James Lewis, Bengt-Ove Andreassen, Suzanne Thobro