History textbooks play a critical role in their connection to conflict. While they can play a role in dehumanizing the “other” by propagating the myths and narratives of dominant groups, they can also play a transformational role in challenging discourses and narratives at the root of conflict. This article explores the relationship between social identity and conflict dynamics in India by examining textbooks from three periods of Indian history (colonial, post-independence, and the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party from 1999 to 2004), in order to explore how religion became a salient marker of identity informing social boundary creations and conflict dynamics. This article concludes by suggesting opportunities for future research and possibilities for peace.
Melissa DeLury is a doctoral candidate in the College of Education and Human Development of George Mason University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org