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Open access

Bildung als Institution und die Bildungsmedien der Gesellschaft

Oder: Versuch einer gesellschaftstheoretischen Verankerung des (Bildungs-)Mediums Schulbuch

Marcus Otto

Abstract

This article addresses the connection between education, educational media and memory, taking as a starting point the (from a social-theoretical perspective) elementary and inherent recursiveness of all communication. To this end, it reconstructs, from a systems theory-inspired perspective, the social framing of textbooks and educational media as well as the specific role of memory in education. The latter is perceived as a social institution to which various functions are attributed. These include (canonical) knowledge transmission, social selection as part of the reproduction and legitimation of social order and (cultural) integration via the transmission and practice of norms and values. Finally, the author discusses to what extent education and school educational media can therefore be understood as a constitutive, institutionalized “memory of society”.

Der Beitrag widmet sich einer sozial- und gesellschaftstheoretischen Vermessung und Verankerung von Schulbüchern und schulischen Bildungsmedien im Rahmen der gesellschaftlichen Institution der Bildung. Dazu exploriert er zunächst sozialtheoretisch schulische Bildungsmedien und die gesellschaftliche Institution schulischer Bildung anhand der elementaren Begriffe Wissen, Kommunikation und Gedächtnis. Daran anschließend exploriert der Beitrag Schulbücher und schulische Bildungsmedien aus der Perspektive systemtheoretischer Gesellschaftstheorie. Schließlich fragt der Beitrag, inwiefern schulische Bildung und Bildungsmedien daher auch als institutionalisiertes „Gedächtnis der Gesellschaft“ begriffen werden können.

Open access

Ethnonationalism and Ideology

The Japanese Occupation in Malaysian History Textbooks from 1978 to 2020

Sook Wei Wong

Abstract

The Japanese occupation of Malaysia during the Second World War has occupied a significant space in national history textbooks in Malaysia. The period has been associated with nationalist movements and independence from colonial rule. However, narratives of the Japanese occupation in school history textbooks have changed in terms of the importance given to the experiences of the three major ethnic groups in Malaysia (the Malay, Chinese, and Indian ethnic groups). This article presents an analysis of the Japanese occupation as portrayed in Malaysian national history textbooks from 1978 to 2020. It demonstrates a link between ideology and the state curriculum in Malaysia, which shows how cultural and ideological factors (namely, the political ideology of Malay dominance, or ketuanan Melayu) explain the changes made to the narratives in history textbooks.

Open access

Ongoing History Writing in History Textbooks

The Most Recent Past as a Historiographical Problem

Daniel Nyström

Abstract

This article addresses the ways in which Swedish history textbooks for upper secondary schools published between 1994 and 2011 deal with the most recent past. The textbooks are chronologically organized and follow history into the textbook authors’ time, and each new edition of the textbooks includes the latest developments. The article inquires as to whether this gradual addition of events is to be regarded as historiography at all, or what the possible difference is between contemporary commentary and historiography. It examines which events and developments are selected, how they are presented, and how they can be interpreted with regard to periodization and the use of history.

Open access

Projecting the Future of Education

World Exhibitions and Educational Projection Technology in Belgium from 1878 to 1914

Nelleke Teughels

Abstract

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, at a time when administrations in various countries set up new school systems or considered reforming existing ones, world exhibitions offered the ideal opportunity for the transnational exchange of knowledge and ideas. This article demonstrates both the impact of ideological views and individual actors on the circulation, adaptation, and dismissal of cross-border ideas and the impact of innovations on their views and actions. As such, it contributes both to our understanding of world exhibitions as mediators of educational reform and to the existing scholarship on the history of educational technology.

Open access

Securing Identity via History

Majoritarian Frameworks of History Writing in Rajasthan

Pradyumna Jairam

Abstract

This article analyzes how the Bharatiya Janata Party crafts a narrative of history in line with its ideology of Hindutva by decontextualizing and omitting information. Using school history textbooks prescribed by its state government in Rajasthan from 2013 to 2018, it uncovers how historical events and personalities are reinterpreted to craft a master narrative of belonging and exclusion. It examines how figures such as the Mauryan emperor Ashoka and the twentieth-century Dalit political leader Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar are “Hinduized” in order to ensure their appropriation into the Hindutva narrative. Further, looking at the 1576 Battle of Haldighati it assesses how antagonistic identities of the “local hero” and “external villain” are created by evoking the religious homogenization of communities and ignoring contradictions. This ensures that belonging to and the defence of the “Indian” nation is a privilege of the unified “Hindu” community, which fights “Muslim” aggression.

Open access

Imagining Peru and the Motherland from the Barracks

Memory, Text, and Image in the 1942 First Year Level Military Manual

Lourdes Hurtado

Abstract

This article examines a school textbook, the Manual de Instrucción Primaria, which the Peruvian military created in the 1930s in order to help to redeem their indigenous recruits from their racialized backgrounds. On the one hand, the textbook echoed Peruvian elites’ anxieties about the suitability of their indigenous contingents to become part of the nation. On the other hand, the textbook recognized that indigenous people also had the capacity to contribute to Peru's modernization, especially when they supported the fight against illiteracy. What made this textbook different from others? That the publication was centered around recruits’ daily experience in the barracks. Both text and images may have allowed recruits to develop awareness about themselves and the country that they lived in.

Open access

Looking without Seeing

Visual Literacy in Light of Holocaust Photography

Christophe Busch

Abstract

The Holocaust was one of the most photographed genocides of the twentieth century. Since 1945, images from the liberation of the camps were used as shaming and shocking instruments of visual denazification. Many decades later, these icons are still used in educational contexts such as school textbooks, exhibitions, and documentaries and are presented almost exclusively as mere illustrations and not as independent sources. By approaching the image as a source, this contribution reflects on the different ways of looking at and seeing Holocaust photography. By moving from a purely emotional and illustrative approach to a more integrated visual approach, the complex dynamics underlying the Holocaust and the timeless mechanisms of totalitarianism (victimization, perpetration, and implication) can be better understood.

Open access

Politics of the Visible and the Invisible

War Images in Japanese and American Textbooks

Jessica Fernanda Conejo Muñoz, Daniel Veloza-Franco, and Julieta de Icaza Lizaola

Abstract

In this article, we analyze and compare photographic images from some of the most widely circulated Japanese and American high school history textbooks regarding their treatment of the Pacific War. We focus on the visual component of war technology, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the visibility or invisibility of women, especially regarding the comfort women issue. We argue that images in the textbooks are articulated by a dialectic relationship between the visible and the invisible as a political question, thinking about the “off-screen space” as the structural principle of what we see. The textbooks’ visual memories about the Pacific War are not only influenced by what is shown but also by what is omitted and virtually depicted in the surrounding media.

Open access

Shaping Memory through Visuality

War Photography in Polish Secondary School History Textbooks after 1989

Anna Topolska

Abstract

This article focuses on war photography as a cultural phenomenon as used in secondary school history textbooks in the context of post-1989 Poland. It argues that the focus on the Second World War, its military aspects, and the threads previously erased from public memory, was specific to the Polish context. It also proves that the visuality of Polish textbooks after 1989 tends to correspond with the broader Western iconosphere as a result of political and cultural transformation. The mechanisms of visual communication underpinning these tendencies consist in several overlapping layers of experiencing and perceiving photography, such as studium, punctum (Roland Barthes), and spectrality (Michel de Certeau, Maciej Bugajewski). The article also postulates a visual literacy that holistically considers all of these aspects.

Open access

Symbolic Nation-building through Images in Post-Yugoslav History Textbooks

Tamara P. Trošt and Jovana Mihajlović Trbovc

Abstract

The use of history textbooks in order to instill particular images of the nation and national identity has been widely recognized, with a proliferation of studies focused on the problematic content in textbooks. Yet, history textbooks rely on a range of other media like maps, graphs, illustrated timelines, and photographs, which also play an important role in visually signposting the nation. While some of these images serve primarily as a form of representation aligned with the text itself, other aspects of visual content distinctly and autonomously construct national identity. In this piece, relying on qualitative visual analysis, we point to the function played by images in symbolically constructing the nation in contemporary primary school textbooks in five post-Yugoslav republics, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia.