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History education reform, transitional justice, and the transformation of identities.

Cole, Elizabeth A.
June 4, 2015

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)


AbstractPost-Conflict ReconciliationRJ in Schools
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