This article traces discursive shifts in the ways in which imperialism and European colonialism have been dealt with in the classroom in relation to the German history textbook Time for History (Zeit für Geschichte), which was published in 2010. It explores how the textbook's representation of German colonial rule in present-day Namibia both raises awareness of and reproduces common colonialist-racist images of the “other” by demonstrating how its content is negotiated in year-nine history lessons, as observed over the course of an ethnographic study carried out in a German secondary school. The author assesses the complex interplay between discursive practices of negotiation, everyday educational practices and deeply rooted, colonialist-racist images of the “other” and, on the basis of this interplay, analyses how difficult it is to bring about content-based and discursive shifts in the classroom.
Patrick Mielke is a research fellow at the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.