Since the early 1990s, the concept of historical consciousness has been central to didactic research in Sweden. It has mostly been used as a theoretical framework on a macro-level or as an attempt to identify students' historical consciousness. This article applies the theoretical concept of historical consciousness to tangible source material: history textbooks from the twentieth century. It focuses on whether Swedish history textbooks for lower secondary school have articulated contexts that may be conducive to developing historical consciousness. The article employs a number of theoretical concepts—narratives, multichronology, identity, and values—in order to analyze perspectives that can be utilized to trigger historical consciousness.
Historical Consciousness in Swedish History Textbook
Felix Philipp Lutz
German political culture has been undergoing gradual but significant changes since unification. Military engagements in combat missions, the introduction of a professional army, and a remarkable loss of recent historical knowledge mostly within the younger generations are hallmarks of the new millennium. Extensive education about the Holocaust is still prevalent and there is a strong continuity of attitudes and orientations toward the Nazi era and the Holocaust reaching back to the 1980s. Nevertheless, a lack of knowledge about history-not only the World War II period, but also about East and West Germany-in the age group of people under thirty is staggering. The fading away of the generation of victims who are the last ones to tell the story of persecution during the Holocaust and a parallel rise of new actors and technologies, present challenges to the educational system and the current political culture of Germany.
School Field Trips and the Representation of Difficult Histories in English Museums
Drawing on the fields of education, memory, and cultural studies, this article argues that as important cultural memory products, government-sponsored museum education initiatives require the same attention that history textbooks receive. It investigates the performance of recent shifts in historical consciousness in the context of museum field trip sessions developed in England in tandem with the 2007 bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade. Analysis of fieldwork data is presented in order to illustrate some of the complexities inherent in the way difficult histories are represented and taught to young people in the twenty-first century, particularly in relation to citizenship education.
Of Witnesses, Martyrs, and Plural Pasts in Post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina
This article explores how Muslims in Central Bosnia engage with the violent past through acts of prayer to make history. It traces two idioms expressed in prayers whereby Bosnian Muslims affectively apprehend, remember, and temporalize the past: witness (šahit) and martyr (šehit). These two idioms, I argue, allow Muslims to reanimate recent critical events as the realms of personal moral-cum-temporal orientations rather than unreflectively participating in an ongoing nationalization of the past in the public discourses. This article thus suggests to take seriously an act of prayer as a mode of historical consciousness— an assemblage of divergent sensibilities, materialities, practices, and ethical conduct—in order to develop a more nuanced perspective on the past as actively and ethically in-the-making in the present.
Reversing the world—What austerity does to time and place
Instead of taking for granted that austerity is unidirectionally associated with Europe, the anthropology of austerity should be paying attention to the situatedness of its effects. The levering potential that a comparative analysis of austerity allows is precious, for it opens new critical perspectives on our understanding of temporal and geographical consciousness. An antipode of perspective invites a more historical analysis of a phenomenon that unsettles the conceived understandings of Europe’s position.
Topologies and Topographies of Crisis Experience in Central Greece
Daniel M. Knight
Drawing on ethnography from western Thessaly, this article reassesses notions of time and temporality in the Greek economic crisis. People experience the past as a folded assemblage of linearly distant and sometimes contradictory moments that help them make sense of a period of social change. Anthropologists should embrace the paradoxes of (poly)temporality and address the topological/topographical experience of time and history. During an era of severe uncertainty, in Greece temporality is discussed through material objects such as photovoltaic panels and fossils as people articulate their situation vis-à-vis the past, present, and future. Multiple moments of the past are woven together to explain the current crisis experience, provoking fear that times of hardship are returning or instilling hope that the turmoil can be overcome.
The Federal Republic of Germany—both before and after 1989—has been influenced deeply by collective memories of the Nazi period and the Holocaust, a seemingly "unmasterable past." In a first phase after unification, memory trends, which had their origin in the mid 1980s, continued, but a second period, beginning around the 1999 move of the capital back to Berlin, however, witnessed the erosion of this older trend and the delayed rise of new memory dynamics. Substantively, there have been three vectors of memory concerning Nazi crimes, German suffering, and the period of division, especially regarding the German Democratic Republic. In this article, I outline the major collective memory dynamics and debates, first from a qualitative and then from a more quantitative perspective where I analyze the holdings of the German National Library. I conclude that an intense period of memory work characterized the postunification years, but the peak of concern was reached several years ago and the German future will be much less beholden to the past. Given inevitable normalizing trends and the unintended consequences of the hegemony of Holocaust memory, Germany's difficult historical legacy increasingly appears to be disappearing or even mastered.
Two History Teachers’ Relations to History and Educational Media
How do two Swedish secondary school teachers relate to and make sense of history via their experiences and educational media? This article seeks to gain knowledge about history education by analyzing two teachers’ narratives of their personal experiences of the Cold War and classroom observations of the teachers in practice. The article finds that the teachers’ narrations of personal experiences and observed teaching resemble the dominant historical culture of the Cold War in Swedish education. On this basis, the author discusses the importance of the critical awareness of historical culture in order to further a complex understanding of history.
Albert H. Friedlander, Uri Ben Alexander and Alan Sillitoe
Holocaust Theology: A Reader, compiled and edited by Dan Cohn-Sherbok, University of Exeter Press, 2002, 432 pp., paperback £17.99 hardback £47.50. ISBN 0 85989 624 2
The Rebbe the Messiah and the Scandal of Orthodox Indifference, David Berger, London, The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2001, 195 pp, ISBN 1-874774-88-9
Haskalah and History: The Emergence of a Modern Jewish Historical Consciousness, Shmuel Feiner, translated by Chaya Naor and Sondra Silverston, Oxford, The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2002, 404 pp, ISBN 1-874774-43-9
The Oxford Book of Hebrew Stories, edited by Glenda Abramson, Oxford University Press, 1996, £17.99. ISBN 0-19-214206-2
This article traces the main methodological and substantial similarities between Reinhart Koselleck's notion of Begriffsgeschichte and J. G. A. Pocock's approach to the history of political thought. Both approaches are responses to the shift in the unit of analysis in the study of human historical consciousness. Rather than focusing on ideas, Koselleck and Pocock concentrate on how language articulated heightened awareness of historical change. Concepts and paradigms reflect in varying manners the intensity of historical sedimentation. The more sedimentation, less space there is for innovation, and political action tends to be conservative. Conversely, unstable concepts or obsolete paradigms, reflect historical change and space for linguistic innovation.