Teaching History in Societies Emerging from Conflict

Alan McCully, Brendan Hartop, Keith Barton

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    Between 9-13 September, 2002 the UNESCO Centre ran an international seminar on the theme of ‘Teaching History in Societies Emerging from Conflict’. The seminar offered participants from several countries the opportunity to outline the context of their present situation and the response of history teaching to internal conflict and the move toward more democratic structures. The outcomes of the seminar sought to identify the difficulties faced in each case, to ascertain whether or not there are common factors applying in such situations and, if so, are there benefits from adopting common approaches.The seminar was organised by Alan McCully and Brendan Hartop of the UNESCO Centre. More than twenty people from ten countries were represented. These included curriculum developers, teacher educators and history teachers. Delegates from seven countries placed their experience of history teaching under the spotlight – those from Russia, Estonia, Latvia, South Africa, Cyprus, Sri Lanka and Northern Ireland. In addition there were important contributions from University of Ulster academics Professor Alan Smith, Professor Keith Jeffrey, Dr. Elizabeth Crooke and Dr. Roger Austin. Professor Wolfgang Hoepken of the Georg Echert Institut for Textbook Research in Braunsweig, Germany spoke of the role of textbooks in developing curricula for social change. Dr. Keith Barton of the University of Cincinnati, a visiting scholar to the UNESCO Centre acted as summarizer and Rapporteur for the week.Several interesting themes emerged from the week; for example, the importance of academic historians in embracing a multi-perspective approach to history as a pre-condition for change in school history and the particular challenges involved in handling those aspects of the past relating to once dominant groups whose position has recently been eroded. A full report of the seminar’s outcomes is to be published by the UNESCO Centre.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherUNESCO Centre, Ulster University
    Number of pages19
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2003

    Bibliographical note

    Reference text: Barton K.C. and McCully A.W. (2002) ‘History and Identity among Secondary Students in Northern Ireland.’ Paper presented to the American Educational Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans.

    Kincheloe J. and Steinberg S. (1996) Changing Multiculturalism, Open University: Milton Keynes

    Giroux H. (1992) Border Crossings, New York: Routledge.

    McCully, A. (1997) ‘The Northern Ireland History Curriculum and National Identity’, Pendry A. and O’Neill C. ed., Principles and Practice: Analytical Perspectives on Curriculum Reform and Changing Pedagogy from History Teacher Educators, Lancaster: SCHTE, pp.30-37.

    McCully A. (1998) The teaching of history in a divided community, Strasbourg: Council of Europe.

    Phillips R., Goalen P., McCully A. and Wood S. (1999) ‘Four Histories, One Nation? History teaching, nationhood and a British identity’, Compare , 29, (2), pp.153-169

    Smith A. and Robinson A. (1996) Education for Mutual Understanding: the initial statutory years, Centre for the Study of Conflict, University of Ulster: Coleraine

    Smith A. and Vaux T. (2003) Education, Conflict and International Development, Department of International Development (UK): London.


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