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Historical Consciousness – a cul-de-sac or an indispensable contribution to history teaching?
Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM), Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
2012 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

For the last 30 years or so, the concept ‘historical consciousness’ has been frequently used in the discourse of History teaching and learning.The concept has often been linked to ‘heritage’ or ‘collective memory’ and thus sometimes dismissed as ‘non-historian’. It has also been linked to, sometimes equated to, ‘identity’ and it has sometimes been argued that a disciplinary approach to history denies the relevance of students' individual identities and life-worlds – an issue that cannot be brushed aside in a diverse society.Thanks to its vagueness, the concept therefore illustrates what Norwegian historian and history educator May-Brith Ohman Nielsen has called the two poles of historical knowledge: the scholarly/disciplinary pole and the enigmatic/poetic pole where the latter is about existential issues, community, identity, security, comfort – that which goes beyond the rational and cannot be analysed. The polarity does not, however, imply that these two aspects of history are incompatible. By highlighting the polarity, the concept ‘historical consciousness’ can also serve as a starting-point for linking the poles together, returning to Carl Becker’s proposition, put forward 80 years ago:“Our proper function is not to repeat the past but to make use of it, to correct and rationalize for common use Mr. Everyman's mythological adaptation of what actually happened. We are surely under bond to be as honest and as intelligent as human frailty permits; but the secret of our success in the long run is in conforming to the temper of  Mr. Everyman, which we seem to guide only because we are so sure, eventually, to follow it.”References of importance, apart from Becker and Ohman Nielsen mentioned above, include Keith C. Barton, Bernard Eric Jensen, Linda Levstik and the reports from the History Learning Project, Indiana University.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012.
Keywords [en]
Historical Consciousness; History Teaching and Learning; Identity
National Category
History Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-19623OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-19623DiVA, id: diva2:552660
Conference
Teaching History in Higher Education: The 14th annual Higher Education Academy teaching and learning conference, London, 11-12 Sept 2012
Available from: 2012-09-14 Created: 2012-09-14 Last updated: 2018-03-22Bibliographically approved

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Hammarlund, Karl Gunnar

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf