Source: (2009) Research Brief. October. New York: International Center for Transitional Justice.

Th e essential goal of education is to transform children into citizens who can function beyond the circle of the family. Within education, history may be the discipline that is most inherently conservative, as it has traditionally been the venue in which group cohesion and patriotism have been inculcated. In deeply divided societies, particularly after identity-based confl icts, in which the polarization of identities has acquired a “zero-sum” nature due to violence, fear and mistrust, history is a particularly problematic subject. Yet, changes in the ways that groups are portrayed in textbooks and classrooms can promote truth-telling and acknowledgment, and can be a distinct dimension of moral repair in the wake of mass atrocity. Th rough representation, inclusion and new ways of approaching stories about the past, history can also contribute to the transformation of identities—of how students see themselves and the groups with which they most closely identify. It can also reshape how students perceive groups that have come to be seen as the “other”—that is, outside their own circle of moral responsibility, less deserving of human rights, threatening, disloyal and generally negative or inferior. (excerpt)

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