The Role of Teaching History for a Nation-Building Process in a Post-Conflict Society: The Case of Macedonia

By Popovska, Biljana | Connections : The Quarterly Journal, Winter 2012 | Go to article overview

The Role of Teaching History for a Nation-Building Process in a Post-Conflict Society: The Case of Macedonia


Popovska, Biljana, Connections : The Quarterly Journal


Introduction

The theoretical framework of this article is based on several published works whose content deals with history teaching as a key mechanism of justice in transitional societies.1 Then, it draws from the work of the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe and their project "Clio in the Balkans" and the Joint History Textbook Project. In addition, there are materials from interviews with Macedonian and Albanian history teachers, experts, and government representatives selected from the participants in the Macedonian project presented at a United States Institute of Peace conference in Washington, D.C. in November 2005.

Unite or Divide?

In societies recovering from violent conflict, questions of how to deal with the past are sensitive, especially when they involve memories of widespread victimization, death, and destruction. It is very often the case that, in the wake of violence, political leaders and others seem to prefer social amnesia to the study of their society's recent history, as they try to "move forward" and promote stability.

Therefore, the question arises of whether the teaching of history could help transitional societies become more democratic, and whether it can contribute to the development of empathy for, or even social cohesion among, former enemies in societies in which some groups were marginalized or were deprived of certain rights. Going further, can history teaching reinforce other transitional justice processes, such as truth telling and legal accountability for crimes that had been committed in the past? Finally, can teaching history promote belief in the rule of law, resistance to a culture of impunity, and greater trust in public institutions, including schools themselves?

The United States Institute of Peace conference convened on this topic in Washington, D.C. in November 2005 raised the issue of the content of post-conflict history education, which raised additional concerns about developing and adopting new history curricula. The issues to be considered include:

* Who decides what version(s) of history will be taught?

* What impact do those choices have on promoting stable, cohesive, and tolerant societies?

* What is the relationship between the (re)writing of history by academic historians and the development of secondary-school history textbooks?

* What impact do transitional justice processes have on the development of new secondary-school history textbooks and the way history is actually taught in schools?

One particularly problematic issue for post-conflict school systems in divided, multiethnic, and multilingual societies is determining which languages will be used to instruct schoolchildren. Although it is important for children in a multilingual country to learn the language (and, by extension, the culture) of other main groups of citizens in addition to their own mother tongue, having too many official languages in the schools can promote semi-literacy, poor performance, high repetition, and high dropout rates (as is seen in many African countries). At the same time, the rising importance of English as a lingua franca in the global marketplace is increasingly influencing language policies. Ethnic segregation or integration of schools also is an important structural aspect of education. When different ethnic groups are educated separately within the national education system, and especially when one ethnic (or gender) group receives more educational resources than another, such arrangements can convey important overt or hidden messages to students. Cole and Barsalou's report says that some educational systems (such as Macedonia's) permit the use of different history texts in ethnically segregated classrooms. In this case, history instruction in Macedonia is the same for Albanians and Slavs - but only in the sense that each group separately learns a remarkably similar history of victimization by the other, and each claims the same distinctions, such as a longer presence in the region. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Role of Teaching History for a Nation-Building Process in a Post-Conflict Society: The Case of Macedonia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.