Commonality in complex histories. Plurality in Dutch and English heritage education resources
08 / 2009 - 02 / 2014
This research project is part of the NWO programme Heritage Education, Plurality of Narratives and Shared Historical Knowledge. The programme examines how heritage education in a culturally heterogeneous and globalising society can contribute to the construction of shared historical knowledge, while acknowledging different perspec- tives on the past. Three topics have been selected as context of analysis for this re- search programme: Christianisation, transatlantic slave trade and World War II. My research project is a comparative study of educational media developed by heritage institutions, in the Netherlands and England, in relation to the history curricu- lum. Both countries societies have in recent years become more culturally heteroge- neous. This aspect, in addition to the sensitivity of the three topics selected for the research programme, provides an interesting context for studying heritage education, as this type of learning relates to concepts of identity and commonality. Therefore, this project addresses the question how heritage education resources construct commonal- ity and how that affects their representations of the past. The analysis focuses on ques- tions like how these resources deal with teaching about the significance of cultural heritage; to what extent they present the perspectives of different historical actors; whether they concentrate more on local, national or global history; and how they stimulate temporal and emotional distance or proximity to the past. Sources of this project include digital and print-based heritage educational media, exhibitions and his- tory school textbooks.