Political Science Now

Survey of African American Portrayal in Introductory Textbooks in American Government and Politics

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.

Survey of African American Portrayal in Introductory Textbooks in American Government/Politics: A Report of the APSA Standing Committee on the Status of Blacks in the Profession

by Sherri L. Wallace, University of Louisville and Marcus D. AllenWheaton College

This study surveys recent editions of circulating introductory texts for teaching American government/politics courses. Most of the major textbooks used for these courses utilize the traditional institutional and behavioral approaches to the study of American government, which have historically treated the African American political experience as separate from mainstream American politics; thus, relegating its discussions to a separate chapter on “civil rights” or “equal rights.” Modeling our textbook reviews after the APSA Standing Committee on the Status of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgendered in the Profession (Novkov and Gossett 2007) and the non-published 2006 report to the APSA Standing Committee on the Status of Blacks in the Profession, we analyze 27 circulating introductory American government/politics textbooks to examine to what extent African Americans are integrated into the study of American politics.This report was commissioned and supported by the American Political Science Association’s Standing Committee on the Status of Blacks in the Profession. The Committee reviewed earlier drafts and accepted the final report for publication and distribution. The Committee members include James Jennings, co-chair (Tufts University); Angela K. Lewis, co-chair (University of Alabama, Birmingham); Kerry L. Haynie (Duke University); Alice Jackson (Morgan State University); Mark Q. Sawyer (University of California, Berkley); Rogers M. Smith (University of Pennsylvania); Robert Starks (Northeastern Illinois University); and Toni-Michelle Travis (George Mason University).

PS: Political Science & PoliticsVolume 41Issue 1