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Narrating the Second World War

History Textbooks and Nation Building in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine

Lina Klymenko

Abstract

This article explores the theoretical understanding of the relation between school history textbooks and the state-led construction of national identity. It does this by conceptualizing a history textbook as an assembly of historical narratives that provide young readers with an opportunity to identify with the national community in which they live. By focusing on narrative techniques, including plot, concepts of time and space, and the categorization of characters as in- and out-groups, this article shows how narratives of the Second World War in Belarusian, Russian, and Ukrainian textbooks contribute to nation-building.