Harvard Educational Review
  1. Summer 2010 Issue »

    “The Beauty of America”

    Nationalism, Education, and the War on Terror

    Thea Renda Abu El-Haj
    In this article, Thea Renda Abu El-Haj draws on qualitative research conducted with Palestinian American high school students to explore school as a key site for nation building. By focusing on their teachers’ talk and practice, she examines how U.S. nationalism and national identities are produced through everyday racialized and gendered discourses and practices inside one school. She argues that this nation building is deeply entwined with the cultural logic that undergirds U.S. imperial ambitions in relation to the current “war on terror” and explores how productions of everyday nationalism and national belonging define an “American” identity in opposition to cultural and political traits and values assumed to characterize Islam. Ultimately, Abu El-Haj demonstrates how complex discourses about the United States engender a view of education as alternately a liberating and disciplining force for Arab American youth. She concludes with implications for educating teachers “to better address the complexities of teaching in contemporary contexts of global migration, transnationalism, and the war on terror.”

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    Thea Renda Abu El-Haj is an associate professor in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Her current research explores new questions about citizenship raised by globalization, transnational migration, and the “War on Terror.” This ethnographic research focuses on how young Arab Americans grapple with questions of belonging and citizenship in the wake of September 11, 2001. Her publications about this study have appeared in Anthropology and Education Quarterly, Harvard Educational Review, and Educational Policy. Her first book, Elusive Justice: Wrestling with Difference and Educational Equity in Everyday Practice, offers a critical account of the range of justice claims at play inside real schools, exploring several different, important dimensions of educational equity that are often ignored in contemporary educational policy debates.

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    Summer 2010 Issue


    Scholarship Girls Aren’t the Only Chicanas Who Go to College
    Former Chicana Continuation High School Students Disrupting the Educational Achievement Binary
    Maria C. Malagon and Crystal R. Alvarez
    The Role of Subjective Motivation in Girls’ Secondary Schooling
    The Case of Avoidance of Abuse in Belize
    Eileen Anderson-Fye
    Rethinking Education and Emancipation
    Being, Teaching, and Power
    Noah De Lissovoy
    Representing Family
    Community Funds of Knowledge, Bilingualism, and Multimodality
    Elizabeth Marshall and Kelleen Toohey
    “The Beauty of America”
    Nationalism, Education, and the War on Terror
    Thea Renda Abu El-Haj

    Book Notes

    Children of the Gulag
    Cathy A. Frierson and Semyon S. Vilensky

    Our Schools Suck
    Gaston Alonso, Noel S. Anderson, Celina Su, and Jeanne Theoharis

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