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Ein Opfernarrativ macht Schule?

Die foibe-Massaker in italienischen Geschichtsschulbüchern seit 2004

Nils Jochum


The stormy transition to the Second Italian Republic during the 1990s produced a “memory boom” that evoked the previously marginalized foibe massacres. From the complex and violent events that took place on the Italian-Yugoslav border at the end of the Second World War, a national victim narrative was created which downplays fascist crimes. In 2004, the law establishing the Italian National Memorial Day also made the foibe a compulsory subject in schools. This article explores how the narrative of the foibe has developed since then in Italian history textbooks, which are not subject to state control. The analysis reveals a broad spectrum of interpretations, ranging from a national victim narrative to the evaluation of historical findings concerning Italian crimes committed during the Second World War.

Mit dem krisenhaften Übergang von der “Ersten” zur “Zweiten” Republik in den 1990er Jahren hat sich in Italien ein “Erinnerungsboom” um die vormals marginalisierten foibe-Massaker entwickelt. Aus den begrenzten, aber komplexen Gewalt-Ereignissen an der italienischen Ostgrenze am Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges wird ein nationales Opfernarrativ konstruiert, welches die faschistischen Verbrechen verblassen lässt. Das Gesetz zur Einführung des Gedenktages aus dem Jahr 2004 erhebt die foibe zum Bildungsauftrag der Schulen. Wie werden die foibe seitdem in italienischen Geschichtsschulbüchern, die keiner staatlichen Kontrolle unterliegen, gedeutet? Die Analyse der Schulbücher offenbart ein sehr breites Deutungsspektrum der foibe. Die Darstellungen oszillieren zwischen der nationalen Opfererzählung und den historischen Erkenntnissen zur italienischen Tätergeschichte im Zweiten Weltkrieg.

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Empowering Critical Memory Consciousness in Education

The Example of 22 July 2011 in Norway

Alexandre Dessingué and Ketil Knutsen


This article addresses memory studies from an educational perspective. In order to encourage pupils and students as independent agents in memory cultures they are part of, it is not enough to (as history education prescribes) learn history as a narrative about the past based on official sources or via the analyses of different uses of history. Rather, today history should also be considered as one of many different dynamic memory acts that define and redefine the past and the societies we live in. We therefore develop the concept of critical memory consciousness and argue for a memory pedagogy that gives learners the possibility to analyze memories that arise out of collective, cultural, and dialogic processes.

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German Colonial Rule in Present-day Namibia

The Struggle for Discursive Shifts in History Education

Patrick Mielke


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.

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The “Imagined Other”

A Political Contextual Analysis of Secular and Hindu Nationalisms in Indian History Textbooks

Deepa Nair


In 2014, the National Democratic Alliance, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won the general election with the highest number of seats won by any party since 1984 and went on to win a second term victory in 2019. Since the rise of the BJP, Hindu nationalist interventions into education have increased. Their agenda has been to “indigenise, nationalise and spiritualise” education in India. To this end, textbooks were written to promote a Hindu majoritarian idea of India that sees Hindus as the primary citizens of India and categorizes Muslims as the “other”. This article outlines the political context in which Hindu nationalists have recently attempted to rewrite Indian history by focusing on the period of Muslim rule in India. It looks at textbooks published by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and media reports about regional history rewriting in India.

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Isabel Rivero-Vilá


Foreign language documentary films offer limitless possibilities for language teaching and are an ideal medium for the integration of the target culture and for the promotion of serious and committed discussions about human rights, diversity, global issues, and sustainability. Language learning is based on current cultural contexts so that students become more engaged with the world. In order to integrate this world into my class, I became a documentary filmmaker and filmed everyday life while I was living in Nantes, France. In my interactive documentary (i-doc), students can explore the different opportunities that Nantes has to offer, from street art to socially engaged activities and student demonstrations. The learner watches and listens to interviews in the i-doc at their own pace and engages with the francophone community.

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Desirée de Jesus

Aria S. Halliday (ed.). 2019. The Black Girlhood Studies Collection. Toronto: Women's Press.

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Black Girls Swim

Race, Gender, and Embodied Aquatic Histories

Samantha White


During the early part of the twentieth century, Black girls in the United States attended Young Women's Christian Associations (YWCAs) where they received instruction in sports and physical activity. Using archival research, in this article I examine the role of swimming in Black girls’ sports and physical activity practices in Northern YWCAs. With a focus on the construction of Black girlhood, health, and embodiment, I trace how girls navigated spatial segregation, beauty ideals, and athleticism. I highlight the experiences of Black girl swimmers—subjects who have often been rendered invisible in the historical and contemporary sporting landscape.

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Looking Outward from/with IGSA@ND

Angeletta KM Gourdine, Mary Celeste Kearney, and Shauna Pomerantz

We are proud to introduce this special issue that was inspired by the 2019 International Girlhood Studies Association (IGSA) conference at the University of Notre Dame (IGSA@ND). At that time, we were not yet acquainted with each other beyond exchanging pleasantries and knowing of each other's academic profiles. Yet we came together as three co-editors and scholars committed not only to the diversification of girlhood studies but also to the larger project of social justice for all. We want to promote such work through this special issue and, in the process, expand perspectives and practices within the field of girlhood studies, as many before us have done.

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Changelings in Chicago

Southside Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration

Courtney Cook

Marcia Chatelain. 2015. Southside Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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crushed little stars

A Praxis-in-Process of Black Girlhood

Jordan Ealey


This is a performative engagement with the theory and practice of Black girlhood. I begin with an excerpt from my play-in-process, crushed little stars, which is itself a meditation on the sad Black girl. I share this process of play not only to present play making as a powerful epistemological tool, but also to blur the boundaries between what constitutes theory as opposed to practice. I (re)imagine Black girl sociality as a site of restoration and healing against the racist, sexist, and ageist world with which Black girls are forced to contend. Accordingly, this project contributes to the diversification of girlhood studies, challenging the disciplinarity of the field by extending ethnographic and sociological perspectives to include the vantage point of performance and creative practice.