The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991 Page: 361
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History and Post-Modern Education
WILLIAM H. GOETZMANN *
Historical Literacy: The Case for History in American Education. Ed. Paul
Gagnon and the Bradley Commission on History in Schools. New
York and London: Macmillan, 1989. Pp. xiii + 338. Preface, notes,
appendixes, index. $24.95, cloth.
"Cowabunga, Dude!"-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Masters of
the Universe, Robocops, Ghost Busters, transformation toys-mutants
all, with a brief instant erzatz history, no human social matrix, no tem-
poral identity-indicate that today's children are being launched into a
world that is "post-modern" when most parents do not even know the
meaning of the word, nor its implications. Since the early part of this
century, science, with relativity theory and its uncertainty principle; an-
thropology, with its cultural relativism (one culture, no matter which, is
as good as another); psychology and psychiatry, which revealed the
free-associating world of the demonic subconscious and the idea of un-
conscious collective dreams; art that rejects the representational and
the "deep space" that our ordinary vision tells us is there in favor of
cubism and the "splash and drip" school; literature that, when it is com-
prehensible, exists for the moment; New Journalism, used-up copy
instead of enduring tales; every man or woman his or her own case his-
torian, hence self-referential historical relativism; the prominence of
space probes and imaginary geography; the collapse of family; the ab-
stract mumbo jumbo of business, with stock markets that change in the
blink of an eye; the instability of governments; overexposure to the
*William H Goetzmann holds the Jack Blanton Chair in History and American Studies at
the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of numerous works including the Pulitzer
Prize-winning Exploration and Empire (1966). He authored the award-winning PBS series "The
West of the Imagination" and coauthored the book of the same title (1986) with his son,
William N. Goetzmann.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991, periodical, 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/m1/405/?rotate=90: accessed November 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.