Politics of identity through history curriculum: narratives of the past for social exclusion - or inclusion?

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National curricula convey narratives that are never inclusive of whole communities, and history curricula in particular need examination of their role as forms of 'identity politics'. Minorities tend to be excluded from the master historical narratives. The examples are derived from Estonia and the new German Lander, which made up the German Democratic Republic. In both cases, the grand narrative of communism was used as the backbone of history curriculum. When, abruptly-around 1990 - the narrative lost its credibility, a quest for a new narrative arose. In the case of Estonia, history was needed for nation-building and was, therefore, framed within the grand narrative of nationalism. In Germany, the educators challenged themselves by attempting to make school history into a Habermasian open space for critical communication. However, the question remains: how far can a curriculum be socially inclusive?

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00220270010011202

Publication date: February 1, 2001

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