Monday, December 19, 2005

HNN and the"Hitlerization of history"

Responding to my vast reading public, here's another resource worth knowing: the History News Network out of the United States. It publishes history items out of the news and articles by scholars that try to give context to the news.

Today's snip is from a Guardian (UK) article which criticizes British schools for a modular approach to history where a few high-profile eras get repeatedly presented while everything else suffers. Now, it seems the Third Reich is what's being repeated, leading to what the Fabian Society calls a "Hitlerization of History."

Now here in Canada, I've heard complaints from students that the school version of our history is: "Plains of Abraham, Confederation, Vimy Ridge, October Crisis." Since I never went to school in Canada and it would be a long time ago if I had, I have to wonder if this is the case now, and what colleagues in the Faculty of Education have to say about the "new curriculum" as it affects history teaching. Comments welcome about your own experience!

For those of you who want earlier history than "Plains of Abraham," have a look at a protest in Fort Lauderdale of depictions of King Tut for showing him as "Caucasian" instead of "black." The whiteness or blackness of Egyptians is a subject that's been kicked around for a long time, and of course reflects various modern attitudes toward whiteness and blackness. You can dive into Google on this subject and never come up! One interesting point is that ancient Egyptians had their own color-coding of human and divine portaits. This doesn't come up in most popular discussions.

As before, Google Images is your friend. You can look at ancient and modern Egyptians as long as you like.


Blogger Dr. Jason M.C. Price said...

I am often struck as an education researcher working actively in public schools across the country at how often Canadian History is reduced to a history of the "forging of Canadian identity" through war. Sadly this history is often a "Great Man" history redux. A story of our "brave" boys, and our "national" leaders who brought home control of our "identity" through our "noble showings" in France, Normandy, Italy, and Korea. Little, if any thing is ever mentioned of our quiet complicity in Viet Nam and the Cold War in general.
Walk the hallways of any high school in Canada on a Friday afternoon and you will see the "War" videos brought out for the edification of our children. I urge parents to ask to see the video and resource materials of history departments across the country: what do you see? what should you see?
When they aren't pontificating about and watching the Wars ad nauseum, our school based history teachers (and too many university faculty)teach a straight up Great man political history, with a very distinct chip on their collective shoulders. That is to say, our political history and players are most often judged in comparison to American and British leaders. This flag waving Canadian history is championed by reactionary private and public school teachers like J.D.M Stewart, in his all to frequent submissions to the Globe and Mail.

8:58 PM  

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