Education as site of memory: developing a research agenda

Julia Paulson, Nelson Abiti, Julian Osorio, Carlos Hernandez, Duong Keo, Peter Manning, Lizzi Milligan, Kate Moles, Catriona Pennell, Sangar Salih, Kelsey Shanks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
267 Downloads (Pure)


The field of memory studies tends to focus attention on the ‘3Ms’ – museums, monuments, memorials – as sites where memories are constructed, communicated, and contested. Where education is identified as a site for memory, the focus is often narrowly on what is or is not communicated within curricula or textbooks, assuming that schools simply pass on messages agreed or struggled over elsewhere. This article explores the possibilities opened when educative processes are not taken as stable and authoritative sites for transmitting historical narratives, but instead as spaces of contestation, negotiation and cultural production. With a focus on ‘difficult histories’ of recent conflict and historical injustice, we develop a research agenda for education as a site of memory and show how this can illuminate struggles over dominant historical narratives at various scales, highlighting agencies that educational actors bring to making sense of the past.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-451
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Studies in Sociology of Education
Issue number4
Early online date15 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the GW4 ( [Accelerator Grant, Transformative History Education Initiator Grant; Transformative History Education].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Memory studies
  • History teaching
  • Difficult histories
  • Education and conflict
  • Historical memory


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