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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

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 January 2008

Sherri L. Wallace
University of Louisville
Marcus D. Allen
Wheaton 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).

© 2008 The American Political Science Association

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