Working with the Cold War

Types of Knowledge in Swedish and Australian History Textbook Activities

in Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society
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  • 1 Niklas Ammert is an associate professor and senior lecturer in the Department of Cultural Sciences at Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden
  • | 2 Heather Sharp is a lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Arts at the University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia
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This article presents a comparative analysis of pupils’ activities dealing with the Cold War in Swedish and Australian history textbooks. By focusing on textbook activities to which pupils respond in relation to their learning of a particular topic, this study identifies knowledge types included in a selection of history textbooks. The study also focuses on the question whether, and if so how, social values are evident in activities concerning the Cold War. The authors develop a matrix that makes it possible to examine knowledge types and social values conveyed by activities. By analyzing textbook activities, this article exposes the hidden curriculum present in the textbooks on the basis of underlying and unstated values present in the activities, and at the same time identifies the way in which the selected textbooks incorporate these values.