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Writing Syrian History While Propagating Arab Nationalism

Textbooks about Modern Arab History under Hafiz and Bashar al-Asad

Monika Bolliger

This article argues that Syrian history textbooks promote the formation of Syrian national identity, although their explicit objective is to propagate Arab nationalism. Their authors' attempt to construct the history of an imagined Arab nation encompassing the whole of the Arab world in fact tells the story of different nation-states. Syrian students are therefore confronted with rival geographical spheres of national imagination. Changes in the new textbooks under Bashar al-Asad reveal increased Syrian patriotism, a will to comply with globalization, and attempts to maintain Arab nationalism.

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Henrik Åström Elmersjö and Daniel Lindmark

History as a school subject has been a thorny issue for advocates of peace education at least since the 1880s. Efforts, including the substitution of cultural history for military history, have been made to ensure that history teaching promotes international understanding, not propagates chauvinism. The Norden Associations of Scandinavia, which were involved in textbook revision since 1919, achieved some success by altering contents, but national myths remained central to each country's historical narrative, making it difficult to give history education its desired international orientation.

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School History Atlases as Instruments of Nation-State Making and Maintenance

A Remark on the Invisibility of Ideology in Popular Education

Tomasz Kamusella

School history atlases are used almost exclusively as required textbooks in Central and Eastern Europe, where the model of the ethnolinguistic nation-state rules supreme. My hypothesis is that these atlases are used in this region because a graphic presentation of the past makes it possible for students to grasp the idea of the presumably "natural" or "inescapable" overlapping of historical, linguistic, and demographic borders, the striving for which produced the present-day ethnolinguistic nation-states. Conversely, school history atlases provide a framework to indoctrinate the student with the beliefs that ethnolinguistic nationalism is the sole correct kind of nationalism, and that the neighboring polities have time and again unjustly denied the "true and natural" frontiers to the student's nation-state.

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The Riddle of a Common History

The United States in Mexican Textbook Controversies

Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo

By identifying two general issues in recent history textbook controversies worldwide (oblivion and inclusion), this article examines understandings of the United States in Mexico's history textbooks (especially those of 1992) as a means to test the limits of historical imagining between U. S. and Mexican historiographies. Drawing lessons from recent European and Indian historiographical debates, the article argues that many of the historical clashes between the nationalist historiographies of Mexico and the United States could be taught as series of unsolved enigmas, ironies, and contradictions in the midst of a central enigma: the persistence of two nationalist historiographies incapable of contemplating their common ground. The article maintains that lo mexicano has been a constant part of the past and present of the US, and lo gringo an intrinsic component of Mexico's history. The di erences in their historical tracks have been made into monumental ontological oppositions, which are in fact two tracks—often overlapping—of the same and shared con ictual and complex experience.

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Textbook Conflicts in South Asia

Politics of Memory and National Identity

Deepa Nair

The aftermath of World War II saw the emergence of many new nation-states on the Asian geopolitical map and a simultaneous attempt by these states to claim the agency of nationhood and to create an aura of a homogenous national identity. Textbooks have been the most potent tools used by nations to inject an idea of a national memory - in many instances with utter disregard for fundamental contradictions within the socio-political milieu. In South Asia, political sensitivity towards transmission of the past is reflected in the attempts of these states to revise or rewrite versions which are most consonant with the ideology of dominant players (political parties, religious organizations, ministries of education, publishing houses, NGOs, etc.) concerning the nature of the state and the identity of its citizens. This paper highlights the fundamental fault lines in the project of nation-building in states in South Asia by locating instances of the revision or rewriting of dominant interpretations of the past. By providing an overview of various revisionist exercises in South Asia, an attempt will be made to highlight important issues that are fundamental to the construction of identities in this diverse continent.

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Yoshiko Nozaki and Mark Selden

Japan's right-wing nationalists have launched three major attacks on school textbooks over the second half of the twentieth century. Centered on the treatment of colonialism and war, the attacks surfaced in 1955, the late 1970s, and the mid-1990s. This article examines three moments in light of Japanese domestic as well as regional and global political contexts to gain insight into the persistent problem of the Pacific War in historical memory and its refraction in textbook treatments. There are striking similarities as well as critical di erences in the ways the attacks on textbooks recurred and in the conditions of political instability.

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Anastasia Todd

, Angela . 2009 . The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture, and Social Change . London : Sage . McRuer , Robert . 2010 . “ Disability Nationalism in Crip Times .” Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies 4 ( 2 ): 163 – 178 . McRuer

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Can National History Be De-Provincialized?

U.S. History Textbook Controversies in the 1940s and 1990s

Thomas Bender

This article examines two incidents of textbook controversy in the United States in the course of the last half-century. First, it addresses history's historical relationship to the modern nation-state and nationalism. How does that relationship, and the particular way it is understood, limit the boundaries of history, particularly the contest over whether American history ought to be taught as selfcontained and exceptionalist or taught within a larger global context? Second, it addresses the presence of what could be called a historical essentialism or even historical fundamentalism in textbook controversies. The article concludes with an examination of the increasingly political character of the textbook approval and adoption process, as well as the role of publishers and professional historians in the process.

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Chinichi Arai

Despite modernization of the Japanese school system after 1872, this period was marked by the war in East Asia and nationalism focusing on the emperor, whereby the imperial rescript of 1890 defined the core of national education. Following defeat in the Second World War, Japan reformed its education system in accordance with a policy geared towards peace and democracy in line with the United Nations. However, following the peace treaty of 1951 and renewed economic development during the Cold War, the conservative power bloc revised history textbooks in accordance with nationalist ideology. Many teachers, historians and trade unions resisted this tendency, and in 1982 neighboring countries in East Asia protested against the Japanese government for justifying past aggression in history textbooks. As a result, descriptions of wartime misdeeds committed by the Japanese army found their way into textbooks after 1997. Although the ethnocentric history textbook for Japanese secondary schools was published and passed government screening in 2001, there is now a trend towards bilateral or multilateral teaching materials between Japan, South Korea, and China. Two bilateral and one multilateral work have been published so far, which constitute the basis for future trials toward publishing a common textbook.

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Negotiating the Nation in History

The Swedish State Approval Scheme for Textbooks and Teaching Aids from 1945 to 1983

Henrik Åström Elmersjö

Introduction The construction of national historical narratives has long been considered coincident with the rise of nationalism, and the institutionalization of historical scholarship is at the heart of this construction. 1 It has also been