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Sensitive Pasts: Questioning Heritage in Education

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Volume 27

Making Sense of History

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Sensitive Pasts

Questioning Heritage in Education

Edited by Carla van Boxtel, Maria Grever, and Stephan Klein

306 pages, 17 illus., 1 figure, 9 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-304-0 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (December 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-305-7 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


Heritage, as an area of research and learning, often deals with difficult historical questions, due to the strong emotions and political commitments that are often at stake. In this, it poses particular challenges for teachers, museum educators and the publics they serve. Guided by a shared focus on these “sensitive pasts,” the contributors to this volume draw on new theoretical and empirical research to provide valuable insights into heritage pedagogy. Together they demonstrate the potential of heritage as a historical-educational domain that transcends myopic patriotism, parochialism and simplistic relativism, helping to enhance critical and sophisticated historical thinking.

Carla van Boxtel is Professor of History Education at the Research Institute of Child Development and Education and the Amsterdam School of Historical Studies, University of Amsterdam. She is also director of the Dutch Center for Social Studies Education.

Maria Grever is Professor of Theory and Methodology of History, and director of the Center for Historical Culture, Erasmus University Rotterdam. She has led several research projects; currently she leads “War! Popular Culture and European Heritage of Major Armed Conflicts.”

Stephan Klein is a lecturer/researcher of history teaching and historical culture at ICLON, Leiden University Graduate School of Teaching. He led ‘Slave Trade in the Atlantic World’ (, an education project based on a dynamic approach to heritage studies.

Subject: General History Educational Studies


Introduction: The Appeal of Heritage in Education

Carla van Boxtel, Maria Grever & Stephan Klein


Chapter 1. Are Heritage Education and Critical Historical Thinking Compatible? Reflections on Historical Consciousness from Canada
Peter Seixas

Chapter 2. The Continuous Threat of Excess? A Cautionary Tale about Heritage Celebration and Object Veneration in the United States
Bruce VanSledright

Chapter 3. Antiquarianism and Historical Consciousness in the New Media Age
Chiel van den Akker


Chapter 4. Why do Emotions Matter in Museums?
Sheila Watson

Chapter 5. Dutch Dealings with the Slavery Past: Contexts of an Exhibition
Alex van Stipriaan

Chapter 6. Tagging Borobudur: Heritage Education and the Colonial Past in Onsite and Online Museum Collections
Susan Legêne

Chapter 7. Unlocking Essences and Exploring Networks: Experiencing Authenticity in Heritage Education Settings
Siân Jones

Chapter 8. Archaeological Heritage Education and the Making of Regional Identities
Heleen van Londen

Epilogue Part II: History, Heritage, and the Spaces In Between

Brenda Trofanenko


Chapter 9. Holocaust Heritage Nearby: How to Analyse Historical Distance in Education
Stephan Klein

Chapter 10. Engaging Experiences of World War II: Historical Distance in Exhibitions and Educational Resources
Pieter de Bruijn

Chapter 11. An Intriguing Historical Trace or Heritage? Learning about Another Person’s Heritage in an Exhibition Addressing WWII
Geerte Savenije

Chapter 12. Increasing Understanding or Undermining National Heritage: Studying Single and Multiple Perspectives of a Formative Historical Conflict.
Tsafrir Goldberg

Chapter 13. Voicing Dissonance: Teaching the Violence of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States
Alexandra Binnenkade

Epilogue Part III: Taking Students’ Ideas Seriously: Moving beyond the History-Heritage Dichotomy
Keith C. Barton


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