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Open Access The history canon project as politics of identity: Renationalizing history education in Denmark

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In 2009, the Danish nation state implemented a history canon, Historie 09, as an obligatory part of the history national curriculum in primary and lower secondary schools. The history canon was part of a high-profile 'cultural battle' that the Danish liberal–conservative political and intellectual elite initiated during the first decade of the twenty-first century – a conflict that also included several other curricular canons. The Danish history curriculum was meant to satisfy three aims: (1) to bolster students with historical cultural ballast as they are prepared to be a part of the globalized economy and community; (2) to revitalize a chronologically structured master narrative about the historical and cultural origins of the Danish nation; and (3) to incorporate history teaching into an ongoing political struggle against some of the possible consequences of increasing cultural and religious diversity in Denmark – and, accordingly, to further a re-traditionalized vision of Denmark as a culturally homogeneous society, presumably existing as distinct from the membership of a heterogeneous European Union. This paper analyses the background of the history canon project in terms of educational policy, how it was realized in the revised history curriculum of 2009, which is still in force, and finally how representatives of the political elite who framed the history canon interpret the history curriculum. I will conclude by briefly discussing how history teachers have responded to the history canon project.
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Keywords: DENMARK; DIVERSITY; HISTORY CANON; HISTORY CURRICULUM; MULTICULTURALISM; NATIONALISM; POLITICS OF IDENTITY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 26 October 2018

More about this publication?
  • The History Education Research Journal (HERJ) is an international, open-access, peer-reviewed journal that focuses on the global significance and impact of history education. It covers all aspects of history education theory, scholarship, and pure and applied research. Articles illuminate contemporary issues, concerns, policies and practice, drawing upon the eclectic research methodologies of history education. The journal is published in partnership with the Historical Association.

    HERJ is a relaunch of the International Journal of Historical Learning Teaching and Research. All past issues up to and including vol. 15, no. 1 were published under this title. HERJ vol. 15, no. 2 is the first to be published by UCL IOE Press.
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