A – Minorities, national belonging, and state-building

Making our voices heard: Minority communities and the teaching of history

Event Details

  • Date

    Sunday, 28 June - 9:00 – 11:00

  • Venue
    tba
  • Theme
    A – Minorities, national belonging, and state-building
Convenor
  • Steffen Sammler (Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research Braunschweig)
  • Riem Spielhaus (Georg-August University of Göttingen)
Commentator
  • Péter Bagoly-Simó (Humboldt-University of Berlin)
Chair
  • Steffen Sammler (Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research Braunschweig)
Panelists
  • Riem Spielhaus (Georg-August University of Göttingen)
  • Marko Pecak (Roma Education Fund)
  • Maria Auxiliadora Schmidt (Federal University of Parana)
  • Denise Bentrovato (University of Pretoria)

Papers

  • Riem Spielhaus
    Marko Pecak
    The Representation of Roma History in European Curricula and Textbooks

    The Representation of Roma History in European Curricula and Textbooks

    This paper sketches the methods and findings of the joint research project of the Georg Eckert Institute for international Textbook Research, the Roma Education Fund (REF) and the Council of Europe (CoE) on representations of Roma history in secondary school textbooks and curricula across Europe. It presents a comprehensive study on the portrayal of Roma history including research based recommendations for textbook authors and curriculum planers. It provides best practice examples making the voices of the Roma community heard in new textbook writing and curricula development.
  • Maria Auxiliadora Schmidt
    The Controverse History of Indigenous Brazilian People: An Example in Collaborative Textbook Writing

    The Controverse History of Indigenous Brazilian People: An Example in Collaborative Textbook Writing

    This paper presents a case study on the controversial history of indigenous Brazilian people, which can be included in the field of writing "difficult histories." The research has been inspired by the concept of "Burdening History” of Bodo von Borries (2010), including topics related to the history of Brazil, such as: the indigenous presence in Brazilian society, the military dictatorship in Brazil, social conflicts, the struggle for land and the African influence in Brazilian society. In the process of making history a school discipline, these topics have been constantly objecting of controversy. Our research took a critical look on the Guarani indigenous presence in Brazilian society, confronting the Brazilian historiography and the history told by the Guarani indigenous people. It led to a new textbook produced by a group of Guarani indigenous people living in a village in Paraná State-South of Brazil. The book has been produced in 2018 and 2019 with a close contribution of Guarani teachers and children. The research permitted to analyze substantive concepts of history education in comparison with “classical” Brazilian textbooks, such as the canonical images and stereotypes, educational policies and the new perspectives of (re) presenting indigenous Brazilian people.
  • Denise Bentrovato
    Memory politics and history education in the context of shifting majority-minority power dynamics and competitive victimhood in post-colonial Rwanda and Burundi

    Memory politics and history education in the context of shifting majority-minority power dynamics and competitive victimhood in post-colonial Rwanda and Burundi

    This paper examines the cases of post-colonial Rwanda and Burundi – frequently described as “false twins” – to illustrate the implications of competing memory politics and opposing historical truths around collective victimhood for history education in the context of mirroring and shifting majority-minority power dynamics and recurring cycles of identity-based conflict involving the two countries’ respective Hutu and Tutsi communities. The study proceeds by presenting a comparative analysis of the evolving official and dissident discourses on intergroup history and social identities held along community lines, drawing attention both to their central tenets and the mechanisms for their construction and their preservation and transmission, first and foremost formal and informal education. It concludes by questioning the two countries’ still fundamentally exclusive recent alternative engagements with the contested violent past and with history curriculum and textbook revision undertaken within the framework of concurrent government-sponsored reconciliation and nation-building projects.

Abstract

Research into how a community that are oppressed and discriminated against form their identities has increased in intensity in recent years, as has the awareness of its societal relevance. Researchers have examined these identity-building processes within the context of the understanding of legal and property notions in these cultural communities and in relation to the dominant social and political elites’ understanding and practice. Aided by national and international funding programmes, academics and grass-root activists started studying how cultural communities reconstruct, preserve, share and transmit their own history. The central concern continues to be that cultural communities should make their own experiences visible and legally compatible with the framework of national and international educational standards. However, these projects, though successful, remain confined to national or regional frameworks and have seldom been the subject of systematic comparison. The panel aims to bring together the results from projects on history education conducted with Roma communities in Europe (Prof Riem Spielhaus, Marko Pecak, M.P.P.), indigenous and Afro-Brasileiros communities in Brazil (Prof Maria Auxiliadora Schmidt), Dalits in India and Hutu and Tutsi communities in Rwanda and Burundi (Dr Denise Bentrovato), it will also include comparative perspectives. On the panel are academics from Brazil, Germany, Hungary, India and South Africa, who will collate their research experience in the field of historical research on minorities and the resulting challenges for history, geography and social sciences education. The panel's work discusses the emergence and development of emancipatory movements that reconstruct their own history of exclusion, expropriation and exploitation, and their contributions develop their own narrative of potential development paths from the past as well as in the future of history education. The panellists reconstruct the arguments that have led to the development and enforcement of rights and the national and international constellations in which these rights have been recognised. The Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research has a special research interest in the development of curricula and textbooks for history, geography, politics and religion, against this background the discussant Prof Peter Bagoly-Simo (Humboldt University Berlin) is developing proposals, based on his own research on the self-understanding of majorities and minorities in South-eastern Europe and South Tyrol, for a comparative synthesis and will reflect on the development of new curricula and textbooks in the field of history, geography and social sciences education.