Political Science Now

A Hidden Curriculum? Examining the Gender Content in Introductory-Level Political Science Textbooks

Virtual Issue: Diversity, Inclusiveness, and Inequality

The APSA Presidential Task Force Report ‘Political Science in the 21st Century report’, now just over five years old, offered a number of recommendations to the discipline including several related to political science research on diversity and racial, ethnic, and gendered marginalization. After reading APSA journals articles published in the years prior to and following the taskforce report, Dianne Pinderhughes and Maryann Kwakwa, both of the University of Notre Dame, argue that, while there have been important steps toward increasing multicultural diversity in political science research and teaching, the barriers that contributed to its marginalization in the past continue to exist. The following article is included in the virtual review issue.

A Hidden Curriculum? Examining the Gender Content in Introductory-Level Political Science Textbooks

by Erin C. Cassese, West Virginia University and Angela L. Bos, The College of Wooster

Gender mainstreaming is a curricular reform emphasizing the inclusion of gendered perspectives into required coursework for the political science major. The burden of mainstreaming gendered content (along with other diversity subjects) ultimately lies with the instructor, who must provide a rigorous, comprehensive, and intellectually challenging course. To the extent that instructors rely on textbooks to structure (and even streamline) course development, the textbook is an important entry point for exploring the prevalence of gender content in the political science curriculum. Given the symbolic status of textbooks as “repositories of official knowledge” for the discipline (Ferree and Hall 1996), the exploration of content on women in introductory-level American politics textbooks offers insight into the messages students commonly receive about the role of women in American political life.

Politics & GenderVolume 9Issue 2 / June 2013 , pp. 214-223