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The Politics of History Education: Teaching National History, Identity and Citizenship in Belgium and the Netherlands, 1830-1880

Dates:
  • Fri 28 Mar 2014 16.00 - 18.00
  Add to Calendar 2014-03-28 16:00 2014-03-28 18:00 Europe/Paris The Politics of History Education: Teaching National History, Identity and Citizenship in Belgium and the Netherlands, 1830-1880

This dissertation has studied the discourses around national history education in Belgium and the Netherlands in the middle of the nineteenth century. The literature on nation building and cultural nationalism often observes the importance of education as an instrument of nation building. Expanding school networks were one of the important conduits through which national awareness was spread among the populace. They helped to disseminate knowledge of the national language, culture and history, thus teaching the future generations about their ‘home’ and ‘nation’. At the same time, historians often note the significance of narratives, often historical narratives, in fostering a sense of pride and attachment to the fatherland. Nevertheless, studies of the contents of and controversies surrounding history education are sparse.
In this study, I hope to show that the field of (history) education is an important locus of nation building and therefore worthy of scholarly attention. Following Jörn Rüsen, I argue that history education knows a specific configuration of epistemological, aesthetic and political dimensions that makes it unique. It prioritises the political dimension over the two other dimensions, thus setting it apart from scholarly or literary and artistic forms of history-writing. Due to its pedagogical objective, furthermore, it is also different from other political forms of history-writing. History education addresses the future citizen directly and presents them visions of the good citizen. I argue that the civic virtues are an indispensable part of national identity. The education thereof should consequently be studied more in-depth.
This dissertation therefore analyses notions of good citizenship present in the debates and contents of history education. Furthermore, it dissects ideas of national identity along the lines of nation and religion, nation and language, the national territory, nation and dynasty and the nation in the world.

Seminar Room 4, Badia Fiesolana - BADIA DD/MM/YYYY
  Seminar Room 4, Badia Fiesolana - BADIA

This dissertation has studied the discourses around national history education in Belgium and the Netherlands in the middle of the nineteenth century. The literature on nation building and cultural nationalism often observes the importance of education as an instrument of nation building. Expanding school networks were one of the important conduits through which national awareness was spread among the populace. They helped to disseminate knowledge of the national language, culture and history, thus teaching the future generations about their ‘home’ and ‘nation’. At the same time, historians often note the significance of narratives, often historical narratives, in fostering a sense of pride and attachment to the fatherland. Nevertheless, studies of the contents of and controversies surrounding history education are sparse.
In this study, I hope to show that the field of (history) education is an important locus of nation building and therefore worthy of scholarly attention. Following Jörn Rüsen, I argue that history education knows a specific configuration of epistemological, aesthetic and political dimensions that makes it unique. It prioritises the political dimension over the two other dimensions, thus setting it apart from scholarly or literary and artistic forms of history-writing. Due to its pedagogical objective, furthermore, it is also different from other political forms of history-writing. History education addresses the future citizen directly and presents them visions of the good citizen. I argue that the civic virtues are an indispensable part of national identity. The education thereof should consequently be studied more in-depth.
This dissertation therefore analyses notions of good citizenship present in the debates and contents of history education. Furthermore, it dissects ideas of national identity along the lines of nation and religion, nation and language, the national territory, nation and dynasty and the nation in the world.


Location:
Seminar Room 4, Badia Fiesolana - BADIA

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Thesis defence

Examiner:
Prof. Heinz-Gerhard Haupt
Prof. Tom Verschaffel (KU Leuven)
Prof. Joep Th. Leersen (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

Supervisor:
Pavel Kolar (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)

Defendant:
Jasper Klaas Jans (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
 

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