Back to RJ Archive

History teaching, conflict and the legacy of the past

McCully, Alan
June 4, 2015

Source: (2012) Education, Citizenship and Social Justice 7(2) 145–159

The article examines the utility of enquiry based, multi-perspective history teaching in divided societies and those emerging from conflict. Using findings from Northern Ireland as an example, it concludes that, while empirical research is required in a range of conflict settings, an enquiry approach, placing an emphasis on the examination of evidence and the study of multiple perspectives, can have a positive impact on young people’s thinking. However, for history teaching to contribute fully to the reconciliatory process it must engage critically with the legacies of the more recent past. The article draws on the distinction between what Minow calls ‘psychological’ truth, associated with ‘truth-telling’ in the immediate aftermath of conflict, and historical truth. It suggests that by engaging with storytelling history teaching may have the capacity to encourage young people to ‘care’ for those from different backgrounds who have been victimized by conflict; and also to examine such stories critically and thereby acquire a more complex understanding of the events of the recent past.(Author’s Abstract)


AbstractDiscovering TruthPost-Conflict Reconciliation
Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now