PROGRAM ON HISTORY, MEMORY AND CONFLICT

PROGRAM ON HISTORY, MEMORY AND CONFLICT

Mission

The Program on History, Memory, and Conflict engages in research, education, and practice concerning production and reproduction of history and memory in conflicts and post -conflict societies. The Program defines the history education as a broad concept that includes school education (textbook and instruction), memorials, museums, and archeological sites, popular culture, internet, and mass media. The program includes a lecture series, conferences, seminars, and other related events. The lecture series features speakers from GMU, the Washington area, the broader US, and other countries.

 

Aim

The aim of the Program is to analyze the main mechanisms, stakeholders, and media through which history education is created, disseminated and impacts society and to identify possible models and develop programs for conflict resolution, democracy building, and restoration of justice.

 

Practice Goals:

There are four primary goals:

·  To facilitate dialogue between stakeholders on addressing memory of violence, trauma, and history of conflict beyond school classrooms.

·  To assist post-conflict reconstruction and reintegration programs by developing history education reform models.

·  To assist governments and ministries of education in their efforts to successfully reform history education.

·  To facilitate production of common and inclusive history textbooks, new curricula, teaching materials and train history teachers in the framework of peace education.

 

Why History Education?

History education plays a significant role in fostering loyalty to those in power, supporting the legitimacy of ruling parties and their specific ethno-political as well as economical order, and articulating their worldviews and positions. Contested history narratives transmit to new generations established conceptions of power and society, as well as official knowledge about the past and present of a society. Historic narratives that are maintained, revived, and promoted by politicians, national historians, textbooks, and school curricula affect the perceptions and attitudes of ethnic or religious group members. It is especially true for societies involved in ongoing conflict or going through post-conflict reconstruction and democracy building. In many societies recovering from violent conflict, where the past involves memories of victimization, mass killing, and devastation among the majority of population, political leaders and stakeholders promote social amnesia as a way for the social stability. Transitional justice processes, such as the establishment of truth commissions and legal tribunals are not presented in history textbook: instead they still represent nationalistic, ethnocentric and xenophobic attitudes. Re-establishment of security, constitutional reform, elections, transformation of judicial and political institutions depends on the comprehensive reforms in history education.  There is an urgent need for the development of the models of history education reform in conflict and post-conflict societies that compliments other reconstruction and reintegration efforts. Despite growing recognition and interest to the issue, the systemic approach to the history education in conflict and post-conflict societies is still to be formulated.

   

 

AFFILIATED FACULTY

GMU - S-CAR:

Karina Korostelina (S-CAR); Daniel Rothbart (S-CAR); Kevin Avruch (S-CAR); Richard Rubenstein (S-CAR); Mills Kelly (Global Affairs); Cemil Aydin (Center for Muslim Studies)

The U.S

Elizabeth  Anderson, American University; Tamra d'Estree, University of Denver; Hope Harrison, George Washington University; Jeffry Helsing, USIP; Charles Ingrao, Purdue University; Mills Kelly, George Mason University; Carolyn Kissane, New York University; Maggie Paxson, George Washington University; Paul Scham, Middle East Institute; Sandra Scham, University of Maryland; Margaret Smith, American University; Daqing Yang, George Washington University

EUROPE:

Simone Lässig, the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research; Inga Niehaus, the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research; Falk Pingel, Georg Stober, the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research

 

AFFILIATED STUDENTS

Borislava Manojlovic

Mirsad Jacevic

Athanasios Gatsias

 

UPCOMING EVENTS
PREVIOUS ACTIVITIES

  • Three working group’s seminars on politicization of history education in 2008-2010 (supported by the Point of View Foundation at GMU and USIP). The working group includes 15 professors from U.S. and European Universities and institutions, namely s-CAR, USIP, Facing History, Middle East Institute, American University, University of Denver, George Washington University, Purdue University, New York University, University of Maryland, and the Georg Eckert Institute for international textbook research. The group convened at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and USIP for three seminars in December 2008, May 2009, and February 2010. These seminars have resulted in the development of several models for dealing with contested history education in different types of conflict, post-conflict and divided societies.  Each model includes four components: (a) identification of problems with contested history education, (b) goals of intervention, (c) mechanisms for intervention, and (d) practical recommendations on points of entry and possible projects. These models serve as a basis for continuing dialogue among scholars and practitioners from the U.S. and Europe.
  • Dr. Korostelina’s Fellowship, George Eckert Institute For International Textbooks Research, Germany, project “The Impact of history education on the reshaping of exclusive conflict identities and negative perceptions of outgroups as well as on the formation of common identity and building positive relationship between former conflict parties.” 
  • Dr. Korostelina’s Project “History Education and Social Identity”, supported by the Spencer Foundation.
  • Dr. Korostelina’s Project “The common history textbook: Toward the peace education in South Caucasus”, supported by the United States Institute of Peace.

 

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