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Naming the West

Productions of Europe In and Beyond Textbooks

Gerdien Jonker

This article discusses the relationship between Europe and ancient Greece as narrated (or ignored) in a range of European history textbooks. It unravels the threads the narrative has followed since the eighteenth century, investigating the choices made in construing the narrative taught today. Which meanings were inherent in the terms “east” and “west” before they acquired the ideological coloring associating “east” with “barbarians” and “west” with the civilized world and “Europe”? The article opens up a new perspective on a complex past that was lost from view when perceptions of the ancient Greeks as guarantors of European values became entwined with the invention of the nation state.

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Gerdien Jonker

In this article, I explore the dominant narratives about Islam in German history textbooks from the eighteenth century until the present day. I thereby deconstruct a longue durée script with a rather curious pattern. Until the 1980s, textbook narratives about Islam were rooted exclusively in people's historical imagination. Only when the children of Turkish workers entered the classroom did textbook authors try to accommodate knowledge based on real encounters. By addressing the di erent stages of this longue durée script, I enquire into the functions of narratives as they underpinned a German and European "we."