BIG BROTHER’S PASSION FOR HISTORY AND WHAT IT REVEALS ABOUT US

Katherine Edwards

Image © Simon Harriyott

The 25th of June this year is the 110th anniversary of the birth of the creator of that most darkly compelling and well known of all dystopias, Nineteen Eighty-Four.  Like all such speculative fiction Orwell’s dystopia holds up a distorting mirror to reality.  It subjects some of its distinguishing features to extremes of enlargement and extrapolation, to explore them and warn of their implications.  Such flights of imagination stand or fall by their plausibility, their emotional power and what they reveal about reality by recasting it in a different and distorted form. Orwell would not engage his readers if his dystopia didn’t communicate something significant about the human condition. One aspect of his message, I will argue, has particular current significance. Read more of this post

PRIDE, GUILT AND POLITICS IN THE HISTORY CURRICULUM: A COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE

Katherine Edwards 

Image© Department for Education

Should history be about encouraging national pride, or perhaps facing up to collective guilt?  The emotive nature of this question might explain some of the vehemence behind the current controversy over the new curriculum.  There are some who perceive that history lessons are currently ‘denigrating this country’, such as Chris McGovern, Chairman of The Campaign for Real Education.  One the other hand the idea of a curriculum designed to ‘celebrate the distinguished role of these islands in the history of the world’ as Gove put it, has provoked outrage among many who feel that it is not the place of the history curriculum to encourage patriotism.  History teachers and academics have emerged from their classrooms, libraries and lecture rooms to enter the public debate in the press, online and on the airwaves as never before, and formed pressure groups such as Defend School History, the Facebook campaign Save School History and an e-petition to scrap the changes and ‘Keep the History Curriculum Politically Neutral’. Read more of this post