Teaching the Cold War – Memory Practices in the Classroom

What are school students being taught about the Cold War now? Which patterns of interpretation do they discover in textbooks and hear from teachers' experiences? How do today’s young people, at home in a networked world informed by a diverse range of media, read textbooks? What is the meaning of the Cold War era for them, particularly when they view it in the light of their present? And how do teachers whose formative years were shaped and often politicised in that period approach the period in their history lessons?

These are the questions driving the comparative work of a research team headed by Barbara Christophe and focusing on Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. The GEI’s partners on the project, the Center for History Teaching & Learning and Recalling the Past at the central Switzerland University of Teacher Education in Lucerne and the Educational History and History Education research group at Umeå University, Sweden, are international leaders in the field. Those involved in the project have forged close links in order to share their diverse range of experiences and competencies in research into practices of memory as they take place in schools, to the ultimate end of establishing a new field of research.

The project benefits from a broad range of research methodologies, including textbook analysis, narrative biographical interviews with history teachers, focus groups with pupils and the analysis of video-recordings of selected history lessons.

Among other works, the following dissertation was completed over the course of this project:

  • Thorp, Robert (2016). Uses of History in History Education. Umeå Studies in History and Education 13, Umeå: Umeå univeristet. The text is available online here.

Financed By

  • Leibniz Association - Internationalization


  • 2013 - 2017


Barbara Christophe

Department Textbooks as Media

Branch Office B0.21
Phone: +49 531 59099-241
Send email

Batol Kobeissi

Department Textbooks as Media

Branch Office B0.17
Phone: +49 531 59099-398
Send email

Eva Fischer

Department Europe

Branch Office B0.10
Phone: +49 531 59099-362
Send email