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Seminar series

CANCELLED: Evaluating the effects of inclusive historical narratives on democratic attitudes

Evidence from India and the United States

Add to calendar 2023-11-16 17:00 2023-11-16 18:30 Europe/Rome CANCELLED: Evaluating the effects of inclusive historical narratives on democratic attitudes Event cancelled YYYY-MM-DD


16 November 2023

17:00 - 18:30 CET


Event cancelled


Concerns about the state of democracy have surged in several countries amongst new evidence that many citizens do not value democratic principles or accept election results. Many suggest that at the core of these anti-democratic beliefs is a dismissal of some voters – ethnic minorities – as lesser members of the nation. In this project, we study whether historical narratives that highlight ethnic minorities' positive contributions to the nation increase perceptions that they are entitled to speak on the nation's behalf, and thereby enhance majority members support for the democratic process. We theorise that inclusive historical narratives can counteract the notion that minorities are lesser members of the nation and thus, the anti-democratic belief that their votes count less or not at all. To test our theory, we conduct online experiments in the world's two largest democracies: India and the United States. In our experiments, we randomly assign participants either politically neutral or inclusive educational content sourced from real history textbooks. We then use both behavioural and stated preference measures to evaluate whether different historical narratives affect perceptions of minorities' place in the nation and support for anti-democratic attitudes, norms, and policies. Our findings indicate that battles over history education may carry consequences for majority members' support for democratic principles and ethnic minorities' political voice.

Co-author: Nicholas Haas, Aarhus University

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