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Hopkins Fulfillment Services


, 384 pages

3 halftones, 2 line drawings

January 2016



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A History of Ignorance-Making in America and Abroad

Honorable Mention, PROSE Education Theory Award by the American Association of Publishers, FY17


Ignorance, or the study of ignorance, is having a moment. Ignorance plays a powerful role in shaping public opinion, channeling our politics, and even directing scholarly research. The first collection of essays to grapple with the historical interplay between education and ignorance, Miseducation finds ignorance—and its social production through naïveté, passivity, and active agency—at the center of many pivotal historical developments. Ignorance allowed Americans to maintain the institution of slavery, Nazis to promote ideas of race that fomented genocide in the 1930s, and tobacco companies to downplay the dangers of cigarettes. Today, ignorance enables some to deny the fossil record and others to ignore climate science.

A. J. Angulo brings together seventeen experts from across the scholarly spectrum to explore how intentional ignorance seeps into formal education. Each chapter identifies education as a critical site for advancing our still-limited understanding of what exactly ignorance is, where it comes from, and how it is diffused, maintained, and regulated in society.

Miseducation also challenges the notion that schools are, ideally, unimpeachable sites of knowledge production, access, and equity. By investigating how laws, myths, national aspirations, and global relations have recast and, at times, distorted the key purposes of education, this pathbreaking book sheds light on the role of ignorance in shaping ideas, public opinion, and policy.

A. J. Angulo is a professor of education and faculty affiliate in the Department of History and Global Studies Program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He is the author of Empire and Education: A History of Greed and Goodwill from the War of 1898 to the War on Terror and Diploma Mills: How For-Profit Colleges Stiffed Students, Taxpayers, and the American Dream.

"Original, fascinating, and exceptionally well done. The engaging essays in the book make a very important contribution to American history generally and the history of education in particular."

"Nothing could be more important than miseducation. We live in a world where myth passes for truth and vice versa, thanks partly to our failure to study how ignorance is created, propagated, and sustained. As if we had medicine without pathology, or the study of law without the study of crime. This book is a healthy and welcome tonic!"

"... this volume makes an important contribution by prompting and inviting readers to take matters forward in their own engagement with the problem of ignorance. Even in titling the book "Miseducation" Angulo plants the seeds for exciting debate and discussion about what it might mean for historians to identify that which has been mis-educative across time and space — and on what grounds we are able to identify and understand this."

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