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How Do Students Rate Textbooks?

A Review of Research and Ongoing Challenges for Textbook Research and Textbook Production

Petr Knecht and Veronika Najvarová

This article argues in favor of including students in textbook research. As teachers decide which textbooks to use in their classrooms, they are the ones who influence textbook development. The article presents a research review of students' evaluations of textbooks, demonstrating that inviting students into the debate may result in interesting stimuli for improving textbooks. The article also discusses suggestions based on student feedback.

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Writing for Student Audiences

Pitfalls and Possibilities

Heather Streets-Salter

When historians privilege writing to and for one another over all other kinds of writing—especially in a period when the humanities in particular are under siege at public universities around the country—do we run the risk of making ourselves irrelevant to anyone but ourselves? This article explores the stakes involved when historians shift the focus of their scholarly work toward alternate, non-academic audiences. In this case, I will focus my attention on writing for university and secondary student audiences through textbooks and reference works. On the one hand, I argue that writing for students has its pitfalls, because it is devalued in the historical discipline relative to monographs and articles based on archival research. As such, investment in such writing can prove detrimental to achieving tenure and promotion. On the other hand, I argue that writing for students allows us to reach a much larger audience than our peers. In addition, writing for student audiences forces us to think carefully about the accessibility of our writing as well as the link between research, telling stories in writing, and teaching. As such, I argue that writing for students may allow historians greater visibility and relevance in the public at a critical time, given recent cuts in higher education budgets.

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The Contemporary Turn

Debate, Curricula, and Swedish Students' History

Thomas Nygren

In 2010, a proposal for a new history syllabus was criticized in the Swedish media for emphasizing contemporary history at the expense of ancient history. This study shows how contemporary history has increasingly been the focus of the guidelines developed by UNESCO and the Council of Europe, the national curricula, and students' work since the 1950s, while graduating students had generally rather chosen to focus on the early modern era up until the 1930s. Although history and civics were given status as separate school subjects in 1961, students' work in history continued to focus on contemporary subject matter. This study shows that the dominance of contemporary history in students' history is by no means a new phenomenon.

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Daryl Glaser

The South African university system has experienced intense student-led protests since early 2015. One of the stakes in the conflict is democratic legitimacy. The legitimacy conflicts roiling universities are, to be sure, not mainly about

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"The Truth about the Mistake"

Perpetrator Witness and the Intergenerational Transmission of Guilt

Katharina von Kellenbach

Based on the archived correspondence between Artur Wilke, a convicted member of Sonderkommando 1005, and Hermann Schlingensiepen, a former professor of theology who acted as spiritual advisor to imprisoned Nazi perpetrators, this article examines the moral and political lessons that Nazi perpetrators communicated to their children. In a seventy-seven-page letter written to his son in 1966, Artur Wilke tried to preserve his paternal authority and moral integrity by denying personal wrongdoing. Instead, he portrayed himself as a victim of his teachers, of politicians, and of religious and legal authorities. He counseled his son to distrust the state and the law, and to submit only to divine authority. His political lessons and deep disillusionment with the German state resonated with the radical politics of the student rebellion of 1968.

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The Inner Conflict

How Palestinian Students in Israel React to the Dual Narrative Approach Concerning the Events of 1948

Neveen Eid

This article addresses the Dual Narrative Approach (DNA) as applied to a sample group of Palestinian students in Israel. This approach is implemented in the dual narrative textbook developed by the Peace Research Institute in the Middle East (PRIME). The textbook was originally developed for history teaching in both the state of Israel and the Palestinian National Authority. The particular situation of Palestinians living in Israel raises an important question of the implementation of this approach in Palestinian-Israeli schools. This sample group is particularly interesting as within the State of Israel only the Jewish-Israeli historical narrative is officially taught in schools, even in the Arab-Palestinian schools. For many of the students tested in this study, this textbook was their first exposure to their own narrative. This article is an empirical study that uses the "mixed methods approach," investigating the students' reactions to the dual narrative textbook with specific regard to the narrative of the events of 1948, one of the most contentious periods for these two nations.

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Riccardo Bavaj

The student revolt of the late 1960s had far-reaching repercussions in large parts of West German academia. This article sheds light on the group of liberal scholars who enjoyed a relative cohesiveness prior to "1968" and split up in the wake of the student revolt. The case of Kurt Sontheimer (1928-2005) offers an instructive example of the multifaceted process of a "liberal critic" turning into a liberal-conservative. While he initially welcomed the politicization of students and the democratization of universities, he became increasingly concerned about the stability of West Germany's political order and placed more and more emphasis on preserving, rather than changing the status quo. Sontheimer was a prime example of a liberal critic shifting and being shifted to the center-Right within a political culture that became increasingly polarized during the 1970s.

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Belinda Davis

Today's German Green Party looks much like its parliamentary counterparts. However, the long-term political experience of activists who founded the party informed flexible and open political thinking and structure, and raised questions about the nature of deep social change that are worth returning to. The Green Party in its current form is not the only possible relevant and practical manifestation of this thinking. This piece briefly traces an evolution of political thought before the emergence of the Green Party through the case of one former activist.

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Alex Lichtenstein

with this humanism, his radical approach to pedagogy and profound impact on a generation of white students, his commitment to a socialist non-racialism, and more besides. In this brief essay, however, I want to recall Turner’s labour politics, which I

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Two Failures of Left Internationalism

Political Mimesis at French University Counter-Summits, 2010–2011

Eli Thorkelson

’s deputy minister for research and higher education, advanced a reform project that would have made French public universities autonomous from the state, empowered to restrict and regulate admissions and to modulate student fees. But the reform was