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 were 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.

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

Robert Thorp (2016), Uses of history in history education, Umeå studies in history and education 13, Umeå: Umeå univeristet. Available online verfügbar.

You can find the final report here.

  • Project Goal

    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.

  • Approach

    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.

  • Publications
    • Christophe, B., Gautschi, P., Thorp, R., eds. (2019): The Cold War in the Classroom. International Perspectives on Textbooks and Memory Practices, (London: Palgrave Macmillan). Public access
    • Christophe, B. 2019. Der Kalte Krieg im Geschichtsunterricht oder die schwindende Selbstverständlichkeit kultureller Rahmungen. In: Monika Waldis/Béatrice Ziegler, Hrsg.: Forschungswerkstatt Geschichtsdidaktik 17 Beiträge zur Tagung »geschichtsdidaktikempirisch 17, HEP:Bern, 160-173.
    • Christophe, B., Halder, L. (2018): Concepts of the Past. Socialism. In: A. Bock, E. Fuchs (eds.) Palgrave Handbook on Textbook Studies (London: Palgrave), 293-304.
    • Christophe, B. (2017) ‘Eigentlich Hingen ja Alle mit drin.‘ Entnazifizierung und Kalter Krieg in Deutschen Schulbüchern und in den Erzählungen von Lehrenden.“ In: F. Flucke, B. Kuhn, U. Pfeil, Ulrich Pfeil (Hg.): Das geteilte Deutschland im Schulbuch. Die Darstellung des Kalten Krieges am Beispiel Deutschlands in den (Geschichts-) Schulbüchern von 1945 bis in die Gegenwart (St. Ingbert: Röhrig Universitätsverlag) 147-165.
    • Ahlrichs, J., Baier, K., Christophe, B., Macgilchrist, F., Mielke, P., & Richtera, R. (2015) Memory practices in the classroom: On reproducing, destabilizing and interrupting majority memories. Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society, 7(2): 89-109.
    • Christophe, B. (2015) Kulturwissenschaftliche Schulbuchforschung – Trends, Ergebnisse und Potentiale. In: C. Kühberger, P. Mittnik (Hg.), Empirische Geschichtsschulbuchforschung in Österreich (Innsbruck: Studien Verlag), 35–47.