Imposing history [Geschiedenis per decreet]
Nation-states have interfered with history education since its inception in the nineteenth century. Yet, over the last decade the quarrels have been particularly bitter and the stakes markedly high. The multiple claims of groups to tell their 'own' story and to erect their 'own' historical monument have occasioned impassioned public debates about the ownership of history. Recent political interventions in history education and public commemorations reveal ideological tensions and conflicts that come close to moral panic. National governments have become increasingly aware of losing control over who and what constitutes the 'common' past. The Florida Education Omnibus Bill, signed by governor Jeb Bush in 2006, is a significant example. A particularly difficult problem now faced by historians is how to teach a feasible history that does justice to the plurality of voices. Imposing national history does not solve these problems.