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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.