'Doing justice to history': the learning of African history in a North London secondary school

Article

Robin Whitburn, Michelle Hussain and Abdullahi Mohamud, last updated: 26th April 2012

‘Doing justice to history': the learning of African history in a North London secondary school and teacher development in the spirit of ubuntu

The medium is the message, Marshall McLuhan observed many years ago and the ‘form' of what we do carries ‘content' as Hayden White has argued. This article reports ways in which three generations of history teachers in one history department have endeavoured to do justice to African historical traditions in their collaborative work together and also with their pupils. Superficially, the answer is through ‘oral history' but, as the article makes clear through its claims and equally through the collaborative manner in which they are advanced here, the real answer is much more complicated: taking the African historical tradition seriously, Whitburn, Hussain and Mohamud contend, means working in collaborative ways and thinking about the telling and retelling of stories as a way of constructing relationships with the past in the present and as much more than mere performance...

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