Ethical Considerations on Representing Slavery in Curriculum


Black Studies

How to Cite

Brazelton, B. (2021). Ethical Considerations on Representing Slavery in Curriculum. Radical Teacher, 121, 55–65.


Critical discourse on the role of slavery in U.S. history curriculum has tended to rely on calls for justice through truth and complexity. Yet the “truth” of slavery is almost incomprehensibly violent, constituting a form of “historical trauma”; the resultant instructional methods thus resemble what Berry and Stovall term a “curriculum of tragedy.” Ethical questions emerge regarding this method. Chiefly, if slavery constitutes a “historical trauma,” what are the possibilities of a Trauma-Informed curriculum? What are the responsibilities owed to students and historical subjects? Building from critical interventions in Black Feminist Theory and the work of the Frantz Fanon, I propose curricular interventions that attempt to mediate concurrent dynamics of trauma, pain, mourning, action, and revenge.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Bennett Brazelton