Naming the West

Productions of Europe In and Beyond Textbooks

in Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society
Author: Gerdien Jonker
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This article discusses the relationship between Europe and ancient Greece as narrated (or ignored) in a range of European history textbooks. It unravels the threads the narrative has followed since the eighteenth century, investigating the choices made in construing the narrative taught today. Which meanings were inherent in the terms “east” and “west” before they acquired the ideological coloring associating “east” with “barbarians” and “west” with the civilized world and “Europe”? The article opens up a new perspective on a complex past that was lost from view when perceptions of the ancient Greeks as guarantors of European values became entwined with the invention of the nation state.


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