Placing history: territory, story, identity - and historical consciousness

Article

By Arthur Chapman, Jane Facey, published 31st August 2004

How do we relate to the past? Does it tell us who we are? Is it a source of examples to follow and mistakes to avoid? Or can we go beyond that to something genuinely historical? Arthur Chapman and Jane Facey argue that as history teachers we have a responsibility to instil in our students a sense of historical consciousness which enables them to locate themselves in relation to the past in a rigorously historical way. They show that our students’ (and our own) concepts of the present are shaped by their concepts of the past. This leads to an identity expressed in terms of the history of a particular place. By studying a broader range of historical topics than allowed by the traditional post-16 curriculum, they hope to allow their students to access a broader identity than merely ‘British’ or ‘European’ - a necessary measure in our increasingly globalised society. Finally, they propose two innovative and successful courses for post-16 history students.

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