Whose history and who is denied? Politics and the History Curriculum in Lebanon and Australia
Keywords:History curriculum, national History curriculum, contested History curriculum, historical literacy
This paper seeks to explain and develop a better understanding of the relationship between the History curriculum and the consequences of political motive. It compares the History curricula of Australia and Lebanon, and is relevant to understanding the purpose of the History curricula in the two countries as well as, more generally, other countries. In Lebanon, the teaching of that nation’s experience of the 1975-90 Civil War has been withdrawn from schools. In Australia, meanwhile, it now appears that the national curriculum that took shape in 2010 under the Rudd Labor Government has been replaced by what the new Federal Coalition Government wants. Important changes have been made to the nations’ History curricula with different political groups urging the inclusions of different topics.
This paper considers the question of the effect of wholesale deletions from the curriculum of a nation’s history, as in the case of Lebanon. Will such changes affect the development of students’ higher-order historical understanding, historical consciousness and historical literacy? And will such changes influence students’ appreciation of historiography? Advanced in this paper is an argument that, generally, History curricula are so politicised that there should be a historiographical component that requires students to understand that history is about many different points of view. Furthermore, students should be taught that it is the understanding of the development of evidence for the various perspectives that matters.
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