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Archaeological Narratives in Greek History Textbooks

From Texts to Pupils’ Interpretations

Maria Repoussi and Konstatina Papakosta


Building on previous research concerning the archaeological narratives of Greek history textbooks, this study investigates the impact of these studies on schoolchildren's historical ideas. In the context of these narratives, the article addresses two significant landmarks of Greek antiquity, namely the Mycenaean civilization and the Acropolis of Athens. It is a small scale sample survey that draws its data from a set of 120 twelve-year-old individuals who were asked to complete the survey at the beginning and end of the first year of secondary school. The results relativize the implicit or explicit assumption that history textbooks have a decisive influence on or even shape students’ historical ideas and interpretations. Rather, history textbooks primarily facilitate the acquisition of specific information.

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An Educationally Sound Experiment?

The Ohio School of the Air, 1928–1937

Nathan R. Myers


This article recounts the history of the Ohio School of the Air (OSA) as a technological innovation that demonstrates the promise and limitations of technology in education. The article situates the OSA within the larger progressive educational movement, detailing the OSA's rise and reasons for its decline. This article argues that, while the OSA sought to bring education to all public school pupils in Ohio, the OSA's choice of content and contributors reflected the biases of society-wide power structures related to gender, race and class that were present in US society in the early twentieth century. Though OSA founder Benjamin Darrow had a vision of a robust, radio-based curriculum that would bring culture to the masses, the OSA was ultimately derailed by financial difficulties and failed to fundamentally alter the nature of schooling.

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Making America Great Again in Christian Schools

Using Historical Narratives of Chaos and Order to Make “Real Americans”

Neall Pogue


This article explores the historical narrative developed by the two most popular Christian school publishers (A Beka Book and Bob Jones University Press) at their founding in the mid-1970s. Specifically, they promoted the idea that it was exclusively white Anglo-American men who heroically created the United States by separating order from chaos. The publishers utilized this story to direct the home and Christian school pupil to save and protect what their ancestors created. The importance of such messages gave meaning and ideology to white conservative evangelicals who have come to think of themselves as “real Americans” fighting the ongoing culture wars.

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“The Pearl Harbor of the Twenty-first Century”?

A Comparative Analysis of Pearl Harbor and 9/11 in History Textbooks

Daniel Berman and Jeremy Stoddard


In the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks against the United States, people immediately compared the attack with the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor sixty years prior. In this article, we explore how US and world history textbooks published shortly after Pearl Harbor and 9/11 depicted and contextualized both events. The textbooks demonstrate that the depictions of Pearl Harbor neatly fit within a chapter about the origins, battles and home fronts of the Second World War. However, textbooks struggled to situate 9/11, placing it within histories of terrorism, histories of the modern Middle East, or twenty-first century problems. Moreover, the textbook authors likely relied on the powerful collective memories that each event triggered because the textbook descriptions of both attacks are exceedingly brief.

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Social Identity and Conflict Dynamics in Indian History Textbooks

Melissa DeLury


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.

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Teaching about the Holocaust in Albania, Kosovo, and North Macedonia

A Comparative Analysis

Esilda Luku


This article provides a comprehensive overview of the way the Holocaust is taught in pre-university education in Albania, Kosovo, and North Macedonia. It analyses the context in which references to the Holocaust occur in curricula and examines different approaches adopted by teachers based on data collected in a survey. The research reveals that most teachers concentrate on perpetrator narratives, give priority to moral lessons derived from the Holocaust at the expense of a historical narrative, and find it difficult to effectively manage the limited time available for history lessons. However, some progress has been made regarding teachers’ perceptions of and approaches to teaching about the Holocaust in line with guidelines published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's Education Working Group.

Open access

Ambiguous Narratives of World War Technologies in Contemporary Military History Museums

Stephan Jaeger


This article provides an analysis of how military history museums in Germany, Britain, Belgium, Poland, and the United States exhibit and contextualize weapon technologies that were developed in the two world wars. The article focuses on technologies (gas warfare, the atomic bomb, tanks, and the V2 long-range rocket) that are directly connected to military success and innovation but also relate to dehumanization and destruction. By employing the analytical concepts of experientiality and of antagonistic, cosmopolitan, and entangled memory, this article demonstrates how museums can create open or closed narratives, steer the visitor toward particular interpretations, enhance or deconstruct the authentic aura of technological artifacts, and stage the symbolic potential of technologies. In addition, it shows how museums can educate visitors and allow them to experience the ambiguities, controversies, and complexities of these technologies.

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Places of Progress? Technology Museums, Memory, and Education

Christian Kehrt and Daniel Brandau

“Revolutionary” technologies or large technological systems are often deemed controversial, risky, or ambivalent. Diverging interpretations clash when technological objects, such as rockets, airplanes, or nuclear reactors, are exhibited in museums or at heritage sites, with profound implications for underlying concepts of historical education. This special issue explores the argument that histories of technology have often upheld a traditional view of modern linear progress but became the focus of controversies when the social, political, and cultural conditions of perceiving and remembering these objects changed. At former “places of progress,” visitors and exhibition makers are confronted with the remains of the Industrial Revolution, colonialism, two World Wars, the Cold War, the Age of Coal, the Space Age, the Atomic Age and the Digital Age. Exhibitions and displays have been used to explain, teach, or make sense of the advents, successes, and failures of high-tech projects. Understanding technological artifacts and corresponding sites such as Chernobyl, Peenemünde, and Hiroshima as well as structures such as factories or bunkers as sites of memory (lieux de mémoire, a term coined by Pierre Nora) shifts our attention to processes of remembering modern technologies and the cases in which established narratives of progress have been supported or challenged. Questions about the ethics of technology use often seem to subvert stories of the “heroes of invention,” leaving visitors with the impression of technological ambivalence. Attempts to teach and learn about history and technology via objects and sites have been complicated, politicized, and contested.

Open access

Peenemünde Contested

Remembering Second World War Technologies in Rural East Germany from 1984 to 1992

Daniel Brandau


Given Peenemünde's ambivalent military and technological history, from rocket development during the Nazi period to East German naval and air bases during the Cold War, its musealization was considered both a chance and challenge during the region's deindustrialization in the 1990s. Local residents’ support of veteran engineers promoting an apologetic view of Nazi rocketry was met with bewilderment. However, a space park project and anniversary event were spearheaded by government and industry representatives, turning a regional affair into an international controversy. The article analyzes the function of memory work and the remembrance of technological progress in rural northeastern Germany before and after German reunification. Based on archival sources and interviews with former officers and museum advocates, it traces the Peenemünde museum project through a history of ideological and biographical caesurae, enthusiasm, political promises, and socioeconomic despair.

Open access

Ruin of Empire

The Uganda Railway and Memory Work in Kenya

Norman Aselmeyer


This article is concerned with the memory of the Uganda Railway in Kenya. Built during the heyday of British imperialism at the end of the nineteenth century, the colonial railway has been a highly contested infrastructure. Drawing on museum exhibitions, public speeches, and publications, the article argues that the main narrative of the railway line as a tool of oppression began to change when the railway infrastructure gradually deteriorated in the mid-twentieth century. I show how three distinct groups (white expatriates, Kenyan-Asians, and Kenya's political elite) were involved in creating a new public memory that popularized the Uganda Railway as a cornerstone of the postcolonial nation. Their uncoordinated but simultaneous efforts toward a new reading of the past all aimed, albeit for different reasons, at reimagining the nation. The article thus shows mechanisms of coming to terms with the colonial past in a postcolonial nation.