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Dynamic Literacies and Democracy: A Framework for Historical Literacy

  • Melanie InnesEmail author
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Abstract

A stated goal of Australian schooling is that all students will become active and informed citizens (MCEETYA, Melbourne Declaration of Educational Goals for Young Australians (Barton, ACT: Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, 2008), 9). Accordingly, national education policy and curriculum reforms are increasingly concerned with the attributes or qualities that may be required for an individual to be a successful citizen in the twenty-first century. Research in History education has espoused the potential of studying history to help young people to prepare for the kind of reasoning and informed decision making that will be required for participatory citizenship (For examples, see: Sam Wineburg, Why learn history (when it’s already on your phone) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018); Keith Barton, “Agency, Choice and Historical Action: How History Teaching can help Students think about Democratic Decision Making,” Citizenship Teaching and Learning 7, no. 2 (2012): 131–142; Sam Wineburg, “Why Historical Thinking is not About History,” History News 71, no. 2 (2016): 13–16). Extending this idea, this chapter proposes a theoretical framework for historical literacies, situated within the broader concept of historical consciousness (Peter Lee, “History Education and Historical Literacy,” in Debates in History Education, ed. Ian Davies (Oxon: Routledge, 2011), 64–66), and incorporating aspects of Wertsch’s sociocultural approach to consider the variable contextuality of historical reasoning. In particular, this work draws on the notion of mediated action (James V. Wertsch, “Is it possible to teach Beliefs, as well as Knowledge about History?” in Knowing, Teaching and Learning History: National and International Perspectives, ed. Peter N. Stearns, Peter Seixas and Sam Wineburg (New York: New York University Press, 2000), 38–50; James V. Wertsch, “Texts of Memory and Texts of History,” L2 Journal 4, no. 1 (2012): 9–20; James V. Wertsch, “Specific Narratives and Schematic Narrative Templates,” in Theorizing Historical Consciousness, ed. Perter Seixas (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004), 49–62), and the different ways an individual may approach historical evaluation depending on their perceived personal connection to a historical event. This chapter is situated in the Australian context where History education has been debated in the public sphere through bi-partisan, politically motivated concerns about the role of History education in the formation of national identity, specifically considering the significance of such an approach in confronting the challenge of collective memory and national identity narratives, such as the Anzac Legend, in the development of historical consciousness.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationThe University of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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