Commentary [to section 3]
The four chapters in section 3 focus on the complications teachers encounter when dealing with “difficult histories.” Each chapter represents a telling of a divided or haunted history within a transnational or subnational context: Israel, Northern Ireland, the U.S. and Cyprus. Tsafrir Goldberg (chapter 9), Alan McCully (chapter 10), and Alan Stoskopf and Angela Bermudez (chapter 11) combine theoretical reflections with amazing empirical research. In chapter 12, Michalinos Zembylas philosophizes about teacher resistance and affective disruption. Reading these impressive chapters made me realize again how different the contexts of geopolitical entities and communities can be, and how differently the subject of history in each of these countries is perceived and taught. In 1993, I was invited to deliver a paper at the Irish Conference of Historians at Queen’ s University of Belfast. We attended a reception in the city hall with lots of people, including several politicians and entrepreneurs who had no clue about who we were and what the purpose of our conference was. When I told someone in response to his question on what my profession was, he immediately responded, “History? Oh no! History books should be burned, they cause only conflicts.” I was shocked by this answer but at the same time I became more aware of the narrative template of my own country. Much later, in 2011, I had a brief conversation with Alan McCully during a break in a conference in Amsterdam about the challenging situation of Dutch history teachers in multicultural classrooms when teaching about the Holocaust. He told me that in Northern Ireland history teachers prefer to teach about the Holocaust, because it is much easier than to teach about Irish history.
|Persistent URL||dx.doi.org/10.4324/9781315203591, hdl.handle.net/1765/109531|
Grever, M.C.R. (2017). Commentary [to section 3]. Teaching and Learning Difficult Histories in International Contexts: A Critical Sociocultural Approach (pp. 203–206). doi:10.4324/9781315203591