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date: 18 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Music education history provides a particularly rich site for examining issues of social justice. This chapter examines historical narratives of music education from the perspective of social justice in its changing meanings and manifestations since music entered public education in the United States in the 1830s. The historical analysis sheds light on the way music was advocated in the name of justice—from its power to provide a sociocultural good, maintain social control, contribute to sociopolitical ordering, build international harmony among nations, and represent the interests of marginalized groups, to enriching the lives of youth from lower socioeconomic or underserved populations. By examining social justice within the canon of music education history, it becomes clear that there is an acute need to engage with alternative and radical approaches to reconstructing the past. Implications for researching and teaching music and music education history from a social justice perspective are identified.

Keywords: historical narratives, United States, social justice, music education history, public education

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