Understanding and overcoming conflict

Since the Interwar Period, history teaching is considered simultaneously an important source of international conflict and a means of overcoming it. Textbooks and history lessons undoubtedly play a vital role in the creation of mental maps and stereotypes. Other nations are constructed as enemies, rivals, partners, or even friends. This continues to be important even in the era of digital mass communication. Historical narratives transmitted in the authoritative context of educational systems possess a high level of political power – and their influence extends to millions of students without any realistic chance of avoiding it. It is therefore highly plausible that their perception of and their attitude towards other nations or groups will be affected in some way by the “lessons” learned in history classes, thus influencing their participation in processes of international decision-making (for the majority of them as voters, few of them as decision-makers). In other words: History teaching matters for issues of conflict and peacebuilding. By combining the specific approaches and competences of peace research and history didactics in an international conference we want to shed some light on some of today’s most relevant questions:

  • How can we evaluate the impact of history teaching in conflicts and processes of peacebuilding compared to other factors?
  • Is it possible to identify general patterns of narratives endorsing conflict or peacebuilding?
  • What master narratives – and counter-narratives – can be identified in societies that try to overcome conflict?
  • To what extent are the methodological features of history teaching linked to the epistemology of the historical discipline?
  • How – and to what extent – are political authorities able to control history teaching?
  • Is there any dialogue between neighbouring states (or between different groups within the same state) on controversial issues in history teaching?

The Conference is hosted by the Department of History Didactics and Department for Early Modern History and Rhenish Regional History in cooperation with Center for Historical Peace Studies, Bonn University.

 

+++ The conference has been cancelled due to the unforeseeable spread of Coronavirus +++

Zitierweise / How to cite:
Peter Geiss/Michael Rohrschneider: Understanding and overcoming conflict. Concept and research questions of the international conference on history teaching and peacebuilding (18-21/3/2020), 03.02.2020, in: Rheinische Geschichte – wissenschaftlich bloggen, http://histrhen.landesgeschichte.eu/2020/02/peaceteachingbonn-concept/