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South African Journal of Education

Print version ISSN 0256-0100

Abstract

FARDON, Jill  and  SCHOEMAN, Sonja. A feminist post-structuralist analysis of an exemplar South African school history text. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2010, vol.30, n.2, pp. 307-323. ISSN 0256-0100.

A feminist post-structuralist perspective offers an alternative paradigm for the study of gender bias in History texts. It focuses on multiple perspectives and open interpretation, opens up space for female voices of the past and present, and deconstructs realist historical narrative. Our aim in this article is to discuss feminist post-structuralism as an innovative approach to History as a school subject, and to demonstrate its implications for the analysis of school History texts. We seek to identify and expose biases that marginalise women in school History texts and contribute to correcting these. Additionally, we seek to develop new knowledge for understanding gender differences. An example of the empirical application of the feminist post-structuralist perspective is provided. The exemplar text analysed supports masculine historical narrative, using a neutral and naturalising style, and renders women and the feminine meaning invisible. It is suggested that non-traditional forms of writing will help to dislodge the inherent hegemony in History texts and challenge the masculine status quo in school History texts.

Keywords : deconstruction; discourse analysis; feminist post-structuralism; gender; History texts; language; open interpretation.

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