Reckoning with the Past: Teaching History in Northern Ireland
With Northern Ireland as her focal point, Margaret E. Smith examines how group narratives are used in the field of history education to address both future conflict prevention and post-conflict rebuilding. Smith explores how divided societies can use educational textbook reform to reconcile a narrative that treats shared group histories as mutually exclusive. Northern Ireland is an ideal case study, in part, because they have been working on revising history teaching in schools, museums, and local history societies since the 1970s. Learning from this process, Smith encourages us to acknowledge that societal change does not occur over night Smith proposes a stage theory of incremental change and a vision for building educational reform directly into brokered peace treaties. This synthetic approach recognizes how difficult it can be to work with groups that feel threatened by difference but also underscores the importance of finding practical ways to move two conflicted groups to a place where their mentalities can be intertwined into a joint story."
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