Download Beyond the Canon: History for the Twenty-first Century by Maria Grever, Siep Stuurman PDF

By Maria Grever, Siep Stuurman

'Beyond the Canon' bargains with contemporary politicized approaches of canonization and its implications for historic tradition in a globalizing and postcolonial international. the amount discusses the framing and transmission of ancient wisdom and its effects for the development of narratives and the instructing of background in multicultural environments.

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Sample text

Recent schoolbooks discuss the oppressive regime and, in particular, the atrocities committed by the French in the Algerian War. 3 However, Socialist members of the National Assembly voiced support of the initiative only in November, just at the time when French society was confronted with protracted and violent rioting, triggered by the death of two teenagers who were accidentally electrocuted during a police raid, and predominantly involving second-generation immigrant youngsters living in slum neighbourhoods.

These narratives possess what Paul Ricoeur has called episodic and configurational dimensions. The episodic dimension is grounded in a chronology based on a sequence of definite events. Configuration refers to ‘emplotment’, the narrative technique that ties events together into a coherent story, integrating different elements into a plot. 17 Narrative templates are schematic frameworks of reference with a basic plot that can generate different specific narratives. To illustrate this distinction, Wertsch analysed the written assignments of two generations of Russian students about the fortunes of their country in the Second World War.

In the words of Hannah Arendt, ‘remembrance . . 38 If a society were to do away with all traditions, historical consciousness and meaningful action would become impossible. The absence of temporal bearings hampers social identification processes. In the end it annihilates the self-understanding of the individual person. Paradoxically, similar effects might ensue when a canon of history is deliberately imposed upon a society. A state-sponsored ideological canon can easily bring about cynicism and indifference or even aversion to history.

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