Volume 122

Þorsteinn Helgason, Simone Lässig (eds.): Opening the Mind or Drawing Boundaries. History Texts in Nordic Schools

Göttingen: V&R unipress, 2010. 279 p. ISBN 978-3-89971-482-1

History textbooks often draw a line between nations, religions or ethnic groups. This also applies to history books from the relatively peaceful countries of Scandinavia, despite the fact that such textbooks are supposed to promote reflectivity, empathy and tolerance. Is this a contradictory undertaking? In this volume, scholars from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden analyse the construction of the ‘Self’ and the ‘Other’ in Scandinavian educational media. At the same time they examine the role of the teacher, who not only communicates but also interprets the material conveyed by school textbooks. Through an analysis of the textbooks’ content as well as of interviews with history teachers from all the above countries, this volume investigates questions of national identity and multiculturalism, equality and difference, content and method, competences and values, as well as the tension between curricular aims and their actual implementation.

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