Defying the ‘constrictive grip of typologies’

Journal article

By Edward Fitzgerald, published 31st December 2017

The role of detailed character cards in teaching similarity and difference

History teachers have frequently made recourse to character cards as a device to help young people, each assigned specific roles, to understand how different kinds of people responded in different ways to particular situations in the past.

Edward FitzGerald builds on this tradition, demonstrating the value of using rich historical accounts to help his GCSE students move beyond stereotypical simplifications. Drawing on the work of historian Alex Dowty, he shows how the construction of detailed character cards that acknowledge not only the details of individuals’ own histories but also their precise location within the emotionally charged regions contested by Israelis and Palestinians, can overcome the constricting typologies of ‘hardliners’ and ‘moderates’ on each side.

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