Questioning Sacred Narratives: New Perspectives on the Teaching of History

H-Net Humanities and Social Sciences Online 1
Conference Group for Central European History 4
Friday, January 7, 2011: 9:30 AM-11:30 AM
Yarmouth Room (Marriott Boston Copley Place)
Christopher J. Fischer, Indiana State University
Challenges and Rewards of Confronting History through Literature
Lynn Marie Kutsch, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
FDGB Factory Reports as (Literary) Text
Mathieu Denis, Université de Montréal
The Audience

Session Abstract

In an age where discussions of "new media" and "interdisciplinarity" dominate considerations of how to teach history, there are few guidelines of what these concepts entail. Clearly, accepted “sacred” narratives in the teaching of history must be recontextualized to incorporate new ideas about ego-histoire (ego-documents), the mediated aspects of literary and other textual sources, and uses of material culture. In this roundtable, H-German editors of different disciplinary backgrounds will discuss issues of "old" and "new" media, the uses and abuses of literature to teach history, the advantages and limitations of interdisciplinary work, and how best to use traditional and new fora in classrooms both dedicated to history and those, such as literature, culture, and cinema classes, where history comprises a key component of learner outcome objectives. Of particular import will be the ways in which new developments in the teaching of history, such as the digitalization of primary sources – from books to visual artifacts – and calls for increased cross-disciplinary research influence not only how we teach, but also how our students, whatever the educational context, learn about history. We hope with this panel to not only spark new discussions about the teaching of history across the disciplines in the twenty-first century in both secondary and university classrooms, but also to engage the audience with larger considerations of disciplinary boundaries, the role of history in multiple contexts, and where "old" and "new" history media meet on such platforms as H-German.