The narratives about a nation's past taught in history education are a major focus of international research. 1 In many countries, textbooks are by far the most accessible sources of historical information for both pupils and teachers. The texts
Marc Kropman, Carla van Boxtel, and Jannet van Drie
Trade, Collecting, and Forgetting in the Kongo Coast Friction Zone during the Late Nineteenth Century
Museums can be theorized as sites of forgetting. Furthermore, British traders who collected carved tusks made by Kongo-speaking peoples of the Central African coast in the nineteenth century appear to have had no interest in accounting for the complex narrative scenes that embellished these works. Recent scholarship advocates applying an “archaeological sensibility” (Harrison 2013) that conceptualizes museum collections as “assemblages” in order to reveal new knowledge about collections. This article employs a version of this approach by applying an ichnography, or “science of traces” (Byrne 2013), to the visual narratives carved on tusks in the World Museum Liverpool collection and to the textual narratives of British traders’ from the period, to reveal discrepant and elided themes in these sources. The insights generated by probing the significance of these narrative disjunctions helps provide a “thicker” understanding of the dynamic, cosmopolitan “zone” of cross-cultural interaction from which the tusks were acquired.
Repatriation Narratives and Ritual Performances
Stein R. Mathisen
Introduction: History, Ethnic Conflicts, the Dead, and Their Remains The historical backdrop for the events, narratives, and ritual ceremonies discussed in this article is the Kautokeino rebellion of 1852, leading to the death sentence and
Habermas and Contemporary Realist Thought
and subvert his narrative of steady democratisation. Habermas and Realism The contours of political realism today are contested, and in certain respects indeterminate. Some common features nonetheless can be identified and be seen to overlap with
Leslie Paul Thiele and Marshall Young
mature individual, mythology and fairy tales are supposed to give way to rational analysis. Within academia this evaluation is common. Natural and social scientists typically disparage ‘anecdotal evidence’. Narratives are seen as optional supplements at
Engaging and Educating Adolescents in History Museums in Europe
History museums in Europe are transnationalizing their narratives. In contemporary historical sections they also increasingly include references to European integration and the present-day European Union. This "transnational turn" within a predominately European narrative frame meets the "educational turn." Museums attempt to transform themselves into more interactive spaces of communication. The meeting of these "turns" creates particular challenges of engaging and educating adolescents. I argue that in responding to these challenges, history museums in Europe so far use three main strategies: personalizing history, simulating real life decision-making situations, and encouraging participative narrating of the adolescents' own (transnational) experiences.
This article is based on the findings of an empirical study that is being conducted in Austria, Poland, and Germany. The material consists of a total of sixty group discussions with families, people of different age groups, as well as individuals dealing professionally with history and memory, including historians, teachers, politicians, journalists, displaced persons, and Jewish communities. Even if there are differences within every country, one clearly can observe dominant country-specific ways of speaking about the past. The German discourse could be described as a meta-narrative. Germans do not speak mainly about the past itself, but rather about how it should or should not be represented. The narrations are highly skeptical and unheroic. By contrast, the Polish discourse is almost devoid of skeptical narratives. Notions such as “historical truth,” “national pride” and “national history” were dominant in the discussions. The article concludes by noting that even though the modes of narrating the past are different in Germany and Poland, its function remains untouched: the past is always a resource for the construction of coherence and meaning.
Toward a Cultural History of the Global Infrastructures
This article focuses on the process of the design of airports and how in particular the urban context has shaped their specific histories. Far from being merely pure technical or functional equipment, they have been mirrors for contemporary expectations, just as they informed the modern urban imaginary. According to this perspective, an urban history of airports can be traced from the first aerodromes dedicated to large urban publics to the development of spectacular airports driven by the massive recent routinization of air transport so intricately bound up with globalization. Based on research on specific cases of the design and building of New York and Paris airports, this article aims to resist the temptations to dehistoricize the airport topic, and to introduce a narrative mode of thinking about these specific and concrete spaces.
Isabelle Hertner and Alister Miskimmon
This article outlines how Germany has sought to project a strategic narrative of the Eurozone crisis. Germany has been placed center stage in the Eurozone crisis, and as a consequence, the German government's crisis narrative matters for the future of the common currency. We highlight how the German government has sought to narrate a story of the cause of the Eurozone crisis and present policy solutions to influence policy decisions within the EU and maintain domestic political support. This focus on the public communication of the crisis is central to understanding the development of Germany's policy as it was negotiated with EU partners, the U.S. and international financial institutions. We draw on speeches and interviews by Chancellor Angela Merkel and two of her senior cabinet ministers delivered at key moments of the Eurozone crisis between May 2010 and June 2012. The article argues that while Merkel and her governments have been able to shore up domestic support for her Eurozone policies, she has struggled to find a coherent strategic narrative that is both consistent with German domestic preferences and historical memory, and with those of other Eurozone members.
An Intra-Imperial Approach to Colonial Canada and Louisiana
Daniel H. Usner
The effort to compare and connect different French colonies in North America encounters some treacherous roadblocks, including the powerful impact of Canadian and United States nation building on the treatment of French colonial regions and the widely divergent approaches taken by scholars of New France and French Louisiana. This essay attempts to explain why these obstacles appeared in the first place and to suggest how they might be overcome in the future. At a time when historians of early America are vigorously seeking new analytical frameworks and meaningful historical narratives, intraimperial research on complex relationships and comparative issues in French North America constitutes an essential area of study. Whether examining the role of Canadian families in the founding of Louisiana, the influence of Acadian settlers on south Louisiana culture, or the character of Indian relations in French colonies—among other issues—a shared history of early Canada and Louisiana will significantly improve our understanding of North American peoples and places.