An Analysis of Orientalist Discourse in an Alberta Social Studies Text Resource


  • Kimberly Edmondson University of Alberta



curriculum, secondary education, Islamophobia, terrorism, content analysis


The aim of this paper is to explore how the Alberta Social Studies 30-1 textbook, Perspectives on Ideology (Fielding et al., 2009) can contribute to orientalist discourse in its presentation of Islam, especially with respect to terrorism, extremism, and illiberalism—three concepts that appear in the Alberta Social Studies Program of Study. Using a content and discourse analysis, the study found three central findings that contributed to an orientalist framing of Islam: a lack of nuanced discussion of Islam; positioning Islam as a source of terrorism; and a lack of acknowledgement of wrongdoing following injustices perpetrated towards Muslims in Canada. This study concludes by offering ways in which social studies curricular support materials may interrogate to disrupt orientalist discourse, and challenges social studies educators to critically examine the limitations of some of the most common resource materials at their disposal.