This article aims to contribute to the field of textbook research by exploring a new approach in textbook analysis. Inspired by Michael Rothberg’s concept of multidirectional memory, this article examines multidirectional narratives in history textbooks: narratives that combine different histories, places and times in a productive way. They generate new meanings by combining histories and help us understand new, unknown situations by putting them in familiar frames of reference. The study of multidirectional textbook narratives precisely brings to light how authors make sense of the past and how continuity and meaning interact with interpretations of the present and the future. The analysis of multidirectional textbook narratives enables textbook researchers to examine how past experiences and future expectations are organised. To illustrate this, this article examines how textbook authors generated continuity and meaning by establishing narrative links between the past, the present and the future in English history textbooks for 11- to 14-year-old students in the 1920-1960 period. A case study presents the English defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588: how and why does the narration of the 1588 event interact with the narration of other historical events, and do these interactions change after the Second World War?.

, , , ,,
Paedagogica Historica
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)

Van der Vlies, T. (2016). Multidirectional war narratives in history textbooks. Paedagogica Historica, 52(3), 300–314. doi:10.1080/00309230.2016.1153674