Joy Johnson

Brokering Nationalism & Historical Memory: The 2005 California Textbook Controversy over the History of Hinduism

This talk presents the main themes of Joy Johnson’s Master’s thesis, which examines arguments made by Hindu Americans during the 2005-06 California History-Social Science Primary Textbook Adoption conflict. Remembered by many academics and progressives as a failure of Hindu nationalist textbook revisions, this event also offered Hindu Americans the opportunity to take their place in a process of claim-making forged by other American ethnic communities before them. This talk focuses on the civic engagement practiced by Hindu Americans who supported the revisions as well as the conflicting role played by California’s multicultural education policies, both encouraging the Hindu textbook campaign and limiting its successes.

Joy Johnson is a Master’s candidate in the History Department of UW–Madison. Her studies in South Asian history, under the tutelage of Dr. Sana Aiyar, have led to her study of South Asians in the United States. She also received a BA in Social Studies Secondary Education and taught high school world history in Kentucky from 2006-09. Her Master’s thesis unites her interest in modern South Asian history, South Asian diaspora, and American educational policies.