How can we as educators address complex and controversial topics in the social sciences without encouraging simplistic responses and self-reproducing binary oppositions? Drawing upon an ethnographic analysis of a first-year writing seminar on the history of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, this article proposes novel approaches to overcome instinctive reactions to contentious topics. Arguing that the experience of controversy produces self-reinforcing binary oppositions that become autopoetically abstracted from the actual topic of discussion, I build upon specific seminar experiences to propose two novel and practical concepts for the pedagogy of controversy: (1) deidentification, which refers to a process of disengagement from the binaries and thus identities that structure and reproduce controversy, and (2) humanisation, which refers to a process of moving beyond abstractions to reidentify with the fundamentally human experience of contentious historical moments. The pedagogy of controversy, I argue, must teach against our conventional identificatory responses to controversy to promote a more nuanced understanding of inherently complex issues.
By identifying two general issues in recent history textbook controversies worldwide (oblivion and inclusion), this article examines understandings of the United States in Mexico's history textbooks (especially those of 1992) as a means to test the limits of historical imagining between U. S. and Mexican historiographies. Drawing lessons from recent European and Indian historiographical debates, the article argues that many of the historical clashes between the nationalist historiographies of Mexico and the United States could be taught as series of unsolved enigmas, ironies, and contradictions in the midst of a central enigma: the persistence of two nationalist historiographies incapable of contemplating their common ground. The article maintains that lo mexicano has been a constant part of the past and present of the US, and lo gringo an intrinsic component of Mexico's history. The di erences in their historical tracks have been made into monumental ontological oppositions, which are in fact two tracks—often overlapping—of the same and shared con ictual and complex experience.
This article examines two incidents of textbook controversy in the United States in the course of the last half-century. First, it addresses history's historical relationship to the modern nation-state and nationalism. How does that relationship, and the particular way it is understood, limit the boundaries of history, particularly the contest over whether American history ought to be taught as selfcontained and exceptionalist or taught within a larger global context? Second, it addresses the presence of what could be called a historical essentialism or even historical fundamentalism in textbook controversies. The article concludes with an examination of the increasingly political character of the textbook approval and adoption process, as well as the role of publishers and professional historians in the process.
Mary Louise Roberts
This essay reviews an exhibition of André Zucca's photographs titled "Les Parisiens sous l'Occupation," which caused an uproar when it opened in March 2008 at the Musée de la Bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris. Not surprisingly, the controversy centered on the collaborationist past of Zucca, a photographer for the Nazi wartime periodical Signal. Because Zucca chose to photograph the sunnier side of life in wartime Paris, the exhibition raised the question of just how much Parisians "suffered" during the Occupation. It also demonstrated the powerful role of photography in shaping national memory.
This article offers a situational analysis of the printing of cartoons about the Islamic Prophet in a Danish newspaper in 2005 and the ensuing demonstration by Danish Muslims. It suggests that rather than simply sparking protests, the 'cartoon controversy' created a space for possible actions and a political platform for Muslims all over the world. Based on a review of the historical development of the national Danish discourse on immigrants, the article conveys how the cartoon controversy became instrumental in transforming this discourse. As a major creative event, it not only ridiculed a dominant religious symbol but simultaneously created a space for the becoming of Muslims in Denmark and beyond.
This article explores the lack of controversy over genetically modified objects (GMOs) in the daily life of a research laboratory in Canada. Scientific perceptions of GMOs and the types of knowledge valued in scientific research contribute toward an absence of discussion on the wider social implications of GMOs. Technical and epistemic knowledge are crucial for the success of a scientific project, whereas discussion of the social values involved may be allocated to particular settings, people, or research stages. GMOs, within scientific circles, are seen as many individual projects with different goals, rather than as a single object. Therefore, according to this view, it is inappropriate to be opposed to or to support GMOs in general, without first ascertaining the specifics of a particular project. How then are scientists engaged in seemingly local, distinct projects seen as globally defending this technology? Scientific expertise unevenly translates into political voice, transforming into silences as well as debates.
This article examines how middle school history textbooks published between 1951 and 1995 explain the origins of the Japanese as an ethnic group (minzoku). The analysis shows that despite the relatively long period from which the sample of textbooks was taken, these texts continue to emphasize two categories of Japanese identity: a biologically heterogeneous people through prehistoric immigration and a unified language. Building on the latter theme, the textbooks continued to treat the innovation of the kana as a quintessential development underlying the Japanese cultural achievement. The analysis reveals that the narrative tone shifted from being emotive in the early 1950s texts to somewhat muted in later decades.
This article is a non-technical review of the economics of global policy on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Quite a lot is known about the likely physical consequences of anthropogenic climate change, but much uncertainty remains. In particular, account needs to be taken of possible catastrophes such as ice sheet melting. How are we to balance the known costs of taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the present against the uncertain benefits of such action for future generations? How convincing is the case for substantial measures to be undertaken now? If the case for such action is accepted, should emissions be controlled via Kyoto-style national emissions targets or by the imposition of carbon taxes? How can the challenges of burden sharing between developed and developing countries be addressed?
Peter Collins and Yulia Egorova
I (Peter) remember sitting in a departmental meeting, doodling, preoccupied with the image of a hospital chapel. I had recently been involved in a research project seeking to document and explain the construction of religious/spiritual space in National Health Service (NHS) acute-care hospitals in the north of England. What was becoming more and more obvious was the growing tension between the distinction that staff and patients were making between ‘religion’ and ‘spirituality’. Admittedly, this tension was not especially surprising; indeed, it can be understood, in principle, as a reflection of the ambient climate of religiosity in the UK, as in many other Western countries (Flanagan and Jupp 2007; Heelas 2008; Heelas et al. 2004).