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The Russian Revolution in School History Textbooks

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The article, using discourse analysis, examines critically the role of language and ideology in presenting historical narratives in explaining how do representations of the revolution by different historians, from diverse ideological backgrounds, compare to the depiction of the same events, in this case the October Revolution of 1917, in Russian school textbooks. The article demonstrates that history educators, both locally and globally, have made sense of the October 1917 Revolution in Russia in diverse ways. These different interpretations reflect the way in which meaning is created in history, depicting historical events. Although the October Revolution of 1917 played a significant part in the nation-building process in the USSR, as demonstrated by Soviet school textbooks, its political significance was minimized in the first-generation post-Soviet history textbooks after 1992. However, current prescribed Russian history textbooks for senior secondary students, which are approved by the Ministry of Education and Science, now regard the Russian Revolution as a significant part of a foundation narrative, representing a re-invented new metanarrative. The article analyses both Western and Russian history researchers analysing different historical narratives depicting Russian revolution in school textbooks.
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Keywords: Russian Revolution; discourse analysis; foundation narrative; golden era; historical narratives; history textbooks; ideology; metanarrative; nation-building

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 February 2018

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  • World Studies in Education is a bi-annual, refereed, international journal offering a global overview of significant international and comparative education research. Its focus is on educational reforms and policy affecting institutions in the global economy.
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