In the Shadow of Authoritarianism
American Education in the Twentieth Century
Thomas D. Fallace
Teachers College Press
In the Shadow of Authoritarianism explores how American educators, in the wake of World War I, created a student-centered curriculum in response to authoritarian threats abroad. For most of the 20th century, American educators lived in the shadow of ideological, political, cultural, and existential threats (including Prussianism, propaganda, collectivism, dictatorship, totalitarianism, mind control, the space race, and moral relativity). To meet the perceived threat, the American curriculum was gradually moved in a more student-centered direction that focused less on “what to think” and more on “how to think.” This book examines the period between World War I and the 1980s, focusing on how U.S. schools countered the influence of fascist and communist ideologies, as well as racial discrimination. Fallace also considers this approach in light of current interests in the Common Core State Standards.
Places American educational ideas in a global context.
Outlines how events overseas shaped, challenged, and supported the ideals of progressive and postwar education.
Discusses a major reorientation in democratic education from ideological commitment to ideological skepticism before and after World War II.
Examines how leading American educators cited the work of educational philosopher John Dewey in different ways before and after World War II.
Traces how educators responded to epistemological issues surrounding propaganda and indoctrination, precursors to “fake news” and “alternative facts.”
Thomas D. Fallace is a professor of education at William Paterson University in New Jersey. He is the author of Race and the Origins of Progressive Education, 1880–1929 and Dewey and the Dilemma of Race: An Intellectual History, 1895-1922.