Schools Facing Public History

La scuola di fronte agli usi pubblici della storia | Schulunterricht angesichts der Public History


Nessuna materia scolastica quanto la storia ha un rapporto tanto stretto con la propria dimensione extrascolastica. Gli eventi del passato sono oggetto oggi di innumerevoli e diversi usi pubblici, di carattere artistico, politico, e financo ludico e commerciale, come i videogames o la pubblicità. Questi usi pubblici competono da una posizione di forza con l’insegnamento scolastico, e quindi devono entrare a fare parte delle conoscenze storiche degli studenti, acciocché sappiano analizzare criticamente le loro dinamiche e le loro finalità.

Film storici e altre opere di fiction

Gli stimoli che vengono dall’esterno della scuola sono di vario genere. Un primo caso è rappresentato da film, serie televisive o opere letterarie, che con maggiore o minore efficacia, a seconda dei casi, modellano la visione della storia da parte del pubblico. E’ dunque necessario che l’insegnante li metta a confronto con la ricerca storica, sottolineando la natura delle varie discrepanze, dai dettagli narrativi giustificabili con la libertà artistica fino ai veri e propri errori o alle consapevoli manipolazioni, e in tal modo oltre a correggere visioni errate l’insegnante può anche prendere spunto per approfondimenti storiografici. Ad esempio un film come “Il Gladiatore” di Ridley Scott (2000), infarcito di errori storici di ogni tipo, dagli eventi ai personaggi alle tecniche di combattimento in battaglia o nell’arena, proprio per il suo grande successo e l’interesse che quindi suscita nei confronti della storia romana è un ottimo spunto per un esame critico in classe.[1] In altri casi non sono solo gli errori storici a essere rilevanti, ma anche il dibattito politico e culturale che si accende intorno a queste opere, e che introduce nell’insegnamento il tema della portata ideologica di queste forme di comunicazione.

Ne sono esempio altri film di successo, come “Le crociate” di Ridley Scott (2005), o “300” di Zack Snyder (2007), che sono stati oggetto di dibattiti sullo scontro di civiltà strettamente legati alle contingenze politiche del momento. Il primo ricevette accuse di segno opposto, sia di far propaganda alla “guerra al terrore” lanciata dagli USA dopo gli attentati dell’11 settembre, che il presidente George W. Bush aveva appunto definito una “crociata”, sia di presentare una visione filoislamica di quelle vicende, giacché ad alcuni cristiani intolleranti e violenti era contrapposta la figura di un Saladino magnanimo e tollerante.[2] Quanto a “300” le accuse furono quelle di razzismo, fascismo, omofobia e disprezzo per l’Oriente, in particolare per la Persia, tanto che vi furono proteste da parte del governo iraniano.[3]

Usi politici della storia

Oltre alla fiction, c’è l’uso pubblico della storia che viene fatto sia da parte dei poteri politici, all’interno delle tradizionali strategie di creazione del consenso interno e di gestione delle relazioni internazionali, che da parte di vari gruppi sociali, che rivendicano il riconoscimento della propria visione del passato nel contesto di un processo di democratizzazione della storia che si sta sviluppando soprattutto da circa trent’anni e che assume spesso anche caratteri di guerre della memoria. Le due spinte, dall’alto e dal basso, talora entrano in conflitto, talaltra si incontrano in un’azione comune.

Commemorazioni, celebrazioni ufficiali e leggi sulla storia si stanno così moltiplicando. Fra i tanti casi, si possono citare “le lois mémorielles” in Francia, che riguardano l’Olocausto, la tratta degli schiavi, il colonialismo e il genocidio armeno,[4] nonché l’istituzione del Giorno del Ricordo in Italia,[5] per commemorare le vittime italiane della politica jugoslava alla fine della Seconda guerra mondiale, e ancora la legislazione ucraina relativa alla carestia degli anni ‘30.[6] Un altro strumento di pedagogia storica e civica rivolta al pubblico sono i musei, come la Casa del Terrore (Terror Háza),[7] aperta a Budapest nel 2002 per illustrare congiuntamente la violenza esercitata in Ungheria dal regime fascista e poi da quello comunista, o la Casa della Storia Europea,[8] aperta nel 2017 a Bruxelles su iniziativa del Parlamento europeo per illustrare la storia e l’identità europea.

Da parte della società civile emergono poi contestazioni di simboli storici giudicati inaccettabili. Nel 2017 negli USA si è sviluppato un vasto movimento per la rimozione dei monumenti ai Confederati.[9] Sempre negli USA da tempo gruppi di attivisti contestano le celebrazioni del Columbus Day, accusando Cristoforo Colombo di genocidio, e in molte località questa celebrazione è stata soppiantata dall’Indigenous Peoples Day.[10] In questo contesto si collocano recenti episodi di vandalizzazione di monumenti a Colombo.[11] Simili contestazioni contro Colombo sono diffuse anche in America latina, per iniziativa sia di attivisti che di vari governi, e hanno portato ad esempio all’abbattimento della statua di Colombo a Caracas nel 2004, al cui posto è stato inaugurato nel 2015, alla presenza del presidente venezuelano Nicolás Maduro, un monumento a Guaicaipuro, leader della resistenza ai conquistadores.[12] Similmente in molti Stati le celebrazioni del “Día de la Raza”,[13] che in parallelo al Columbus Day intende celebrare l’incontro fra gli indigeni e i colonizzatori spagnoli, sono state sostituite con celebrazioni della resistenza indigena o della diversità culturale.[14] Un altro contesto caratterizzato da distruzione di monumenti come segno di rottura con il passato è l’ex blocco sovietico: si possono ricordare la rimozione di migliaia di statue di Lenin in Ucraina,[15] e la rimozione del monumento al soldato sovietico liberatore dal centro di Tallinn nel 2007, che suscitò le proteste della componente russofona della popolazione estone, e, sul piano internazionale, reazioni da parte della Russia.[16]

Pratiche didattiche

A livello didattico, dunque, la questione degli usi pubblici della storia potrebbe essere articolata in due momenti: da un lato, rispondendo alle sollecitazioni che vengono dall’esterno della scuola, come quando esce un film storico o emerge un conflitto politico o sociale; dall’altro, quando nel corso dello svolgimento del programma si affronta una questione attualmente sensibile, certo in modi diversi a seconda dei contesti nazionali, come le crociate, il colonialismo europeo, la Rivoluzione francese, il Risorgimento italiano, la Rivoluzione d’Ottobre, illustrandone i risvolti pubblici. Infine, quando si arriva alla trattazione delle questioni del tempo presente, dovrebbe essere presentato agli studenti un quadro generale dei recenti usi politici della storia a livello internazionale, giacché si tratta ormai di un fenomeno di dimensioni tali che ne rendono ineludibile la conoscenza critica per i futuri cittadini.

_____________________

Per approfondire

  • Resta, Giorgio, Vincenzo Zeno-Zencovich (a cura di). Riparare Risarcire Ricordare. Un dialogo tra storici e giuristi. Napoli: Editoriale Scientifica, 2012.
  • Focardi, Filippo, Bruno Groppo (a cura di), L’Europa e le sue memorie. Politiche e culture del ricordo dopo il 1989. Roma: Viella, 2013.
  • Belavusau, Ulad, Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias (a cura di), Law and Memory: Towards Legal Governance of History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Siti web

  • Website di Novecento.org, rivista dell’Istituto Nazionale Ferruccio Parri dedicata alla didattica della storia contemporanea: www.novecento.org (ultimo consultato: 25.04.2018).
  • Website dell’associazione francese Liberté pour l’histoire:
    www.lph-asso.fr (ultimo consultato: 25.04.2018).
  • Stafford, Emma. “The Curse of 300? Popular Culture and Teaching the Spartans”, The Journal of Classics Teaching, vol. 17, issue 33 (Spring 2016): 8-13, www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-classics-teaching/article (ultimo consultato: 25.04.2018).

_____________________

[1] Marcus Junkelmann, Hollywoods Traum von Rom. ‘Gladiator’ und die Tradition des Monumentalfilms (Mainz: Philipp von Zabern Verlag, 2004); Martin M. Winkler (ed.), Gladiator: film and history (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell 2004).
[2] Lawrence Raw, The Ridley Scott Encyclopedia (Lanham – Toronto – Plymouth, UK: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2009), 188-192.
[3] Jeroen Lauwers, Marieke Dhont, Xanne Huybrecht, “’This is Sparta!’: Discourse, Gender, and the Orient in Zack Snyder’s 300”, in Ancient Worlds in Film and Television. Gender and Politics, (eds.) Almut-Barbara Renger, Jon Solomon, (Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2017), 79-94.
[4] Matthias Middell, “«Ce n’est pas à l’Etat de dire comment on enseigne l’histoire». Geschichte und Geschichtswissenschaft in Frankreich”, Neue Politische Literatur, No. 2/3 (2006) : 187-202; René Rémond, Quand l’État se mêle de l’histoire (Paris: Stock, 2006); Pierre Nora, Françoise Chandernagor, Liberté pour l’histoire (Paris: CNRS éditions, 2008); Assemblée nationale [France], Rapport d’information fait en application de l’article 145 du règlement au nom de la mission d’information sur les questions mémorielles, Président-Rapporteur M. Bertrand Accoyer (enregistré à la Présidence de l’Assemblée nationale le 18 novembre 2008).
[5] Luigi Cajani, „Die Ostgrenze Italiens im 20. Jahrhundert. Eine Geschichte zwischen Politik und Schule“, in Der Grenzraum als Erinnerungsort. Über den Wandel zu einer postnationalen Erinnerungskultur in Europa, Patrick Ostermann, Claudia Müller, Karl-Siegbert Rehberg (eds.), (Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2012), 153-170.
[6] Georgiy Kasianov, “The Great Famine of 1932-1933 (Holodomor) and the Politics of History in Contemporary Ukraine”, in Postdiktatorische Geschichtskulturen im Süden und Osten Europas. Bestandsaufnahme und Forschungsperspektiven, ed. Stefan Troebst (Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2010), 619-641.
[7] Magdalena Marsovszky, „Die Märtyrer sind die Magyaren. Der Holocaust in Ungarn aus Sicht des Hauses des Terrors in Budapest und die Ethnisierung der Erinnerung in Ungarn”, in Die Dynamik der europäischen Rechten. Geschichte, Kontinuitäten und Wandel, eds. Claudia Globisch, Agnieszka Pufelska, Volker Weiß (Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2011), 55–74.
[8] Committee of Experts House of European History, Conceptual Basis for a House of European History (Brussels: 2008).
[9] “AHA Statement on Confederate Monuments”, Perspectives on History October 2017, https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/october-2017/aha-statement-on-confederate-monuments (ultimo consultato: 25.04.2018).
[10] Timothy Kubal, Cultural Movements and Collective Memory: Christopher Columbus and the Rewriting of the National Origin Myth (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).
[11] Pamela Wood, “Christopher Columbus monument vandalized in Baltimore”, Baltimore Sun, August 8, 2017; Sarah Maslin Nir, Jeffery C. Mays, “Christopher Columbus statue in Central Park is vandalized”, New York Times, September 12, 2017.
[12] “En Caracas Gobierno sustituyó monumento a Colón por Guaicaipuro”, cubainformación 13.10.2015.
[13] Ilan Rachum, “Origins and Historical Significance of Día de la Raza”, Revista Europea de Estudios Latinoamericanos y del Caribe 76 (2004): 61-81.
[14] Pablo Mardones Charlone, Francisca Fernández Droguett, “Cinco siglos resistiendo: la marcha del 12 de octubre en Buenos Aires y Santiago de Chile como memoria colectiva cronotrópica y de reivindicación amerindia en Abya Yala”, Si Somos Americanos, 16/2 (2016): 143-171.
[15] Greg Wilford, “Ukraine has removed all 1,320 statues of Lenin”, The Independent, August 20, 2017.
[16] Stuart Bunch, David J. Smith, “Empty Spaces and the Value of Symbols: Estonia’s ‘War of Monuments’ from another Angle”, in Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 59, n. 6 (2007): 913-936.

_____________________

Image Credits
angry gladiator © Hans Splinter 2010, www.flickr.com/photos/archeon (last accessed 30 April 2018).

Recommended Citation
Cajani, Luigi: La scuola di fronte agli usi pubblici della storia. In: Public History Weekly 6 (2018)16 , DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1515/phw-2018-11922

Editorial Responsibility
Dominika Uczkiewicz / Krzysztof Ruchniewicz

Copyright (c) 2018 by De Gruyter Oldenbourg and the author, all rights reserved. This work may be copied and redistributed for non-commercial, educational purposes, if permission is granted by the author and usage right holders. For permission please contact: elise.wintz (at) degruyter.com.

No school subject has such a close relationship with its own dimension outside school as does history. The events of the past are the object of countless and various public uses; artistic, political, economic and commercial, such as video games or advertising. These public uses compete with school teaching from a position of strength, and therefore they must become part of school history curricula in order to give pupils the tools to critically evaluate them.

Historical films and other works of fiction

The stimuli that come from outside the school vary widely in their nature. A prominent category includes films, television series, or literary works which – with greater or lesser effectiveness, depending on the work – shape the public’s view of a particular story. It is therefore necessary that the teacher confronts these works with historical research, underlining the nature of various discrepancies, from narrative details justifiable under the rubric of artistic freedom to factual mistakes or conscious manipulations. At the same time, in addition to correcting wrong images of history the teacher can also use them as a cue for historiographical insights. For example, a film like “The Gladiator” by Ridley Scott (2000), which is full of historical errors of all kinds, from events to characters to the techniques of combat in battle or in the arena, nevertheless constitutes – because of its great success and the interest that it has aroused about Roman history – a good starting point for a critical examination in the classroom.[1] In other cases not only are historical mistakes relevant, but also the political and cultural debate that surrounds certain works of fiction, which makes it possible to introduce the theme of the ideological bias of these forms of communication into the teaching of history.

Other examples include other successful films, such as “The Kingdom of Heaven” by Ridley Scott (2005), or “300” by Zack Snyder (2007), which have been the object of debates concerning the clash of civilizations, a topic closely linked to the current political contingencies. The former was object of conflicting criticism: on one hand as being a tool of propaganda for the “war on terror” launched by the USA after the attacks of 11 September, which President George W. Bush had just defined as a “crusade”; while on the other hand it was labelled as presenting a pro-Islamic vision of those events, since the figure of a magnanimous and tolerant Saladin was contrasted with some intolerant and violent Christians.[2] As for “300”, the accusations included racism, fascism, homophobia and contempt for the East, in particular for Persia, which led to protests from the Iranian government.[3]

Political use of history

In addition to entertainment and fiction, there is the public use of history made by political powers, within their traditional strategies of creating an internal consensus and of managing international relations, as well as by various social groups, which seek recognition of their own vision of the past in the context of the process of ‘democratization of history’, a process which has been developing prominently for about thirty years and which often also takes the character of memory wars. The two thrusts, one from above and one from below, sometimes come into conflict, and sometimes meet in a common action.

Commemorations, official celebrations, and laws on history are thus multiplying. Among the many examples one can mention the “lois mémorielles in France”, which concern the Holocaust, the slave trade, colonialism, and the Armenian genocide;[4] the establishment of the Day of Remembrance (Giorno del ricordo) in Italy[5] to commemorate the Italian victims of Yugoslavian policies at the end of the Second World War; and the Ukrainian legislation on the famine of the 1930s.[6] Another instrument of historical and civic pedagogy aimed at the public involves the creation of special museums and/or exhibits, like the House of Terror (Terror Háza),[7] which opened in 2002 in Budapest to jointly illustrate the violence carried out in Hungary by both the fascist regime and then by the communist one; or the House of European History,[8] opened 2017 in Brussels on the initiative of the European Parliament to illustrate European history and identity.

From the side of civil society, historical symbols that are deemed as unacceptable by some groups are being challenged. In 2017 in the USA a vast movement developed aimed at removal of the monuments commemorating the Confederates.[9] Also in the USA groups of activists have been protesting against the Columbus Day celebrations, charging Columbus with genocide, and in many places this celebration has been supplanted by Indigenous Peoples Day.[10] In this context there have been recent episodes of vandalism carried out against monuments of Columbus.[11] Similar protests against Columbus are also widespread in Latin America, on the initiative of both activists and various governments. They led to the demolition of the statue of Columbus in Caracas in 2004, which was replaced in 2015, in the presence of the Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, by a monument to Guaicaipuro, leader of the resistance to the conquistadores.[12] Likewise in many Latin American States the celebrations of the “Día de la Raza”,[13] which were held in parallel with Columbus Day and were intended to celebrate the meeting between the indigenous inhabitants and the Spanish colonizers, have been replaced by celebrations of indigenous resistance or cultural diversity.[14] Another historical context characterized by the destruction of monuments as a sign of rupture with the past concerns the former Soviet bloc: one can recall the removal of thousands of Lenin statues in Ukraine[15] and the removal of the monument to the fallen Soviet liberator soldier from the centre of Tallinn in 2007, the latter of which aroused the protests of the Russian-speaking part of the Estonian population and, at the international level, brought about reactions from Russia.[16]

Proposal for educators

Returning to the educational level, the issue of the public uses of history can arise in two situations in particular: on one hand in response to the inputs that come from outside the school, such as when a popular historical film comes out or a political or social conflict emerges; and on the other hand when during the course of the historical program a matter concerns a currently sensitive issue – certainly in different ways in different national contexts – such as the crusades, European colonialism, the French Revolution, the Italian Risorgimento, the October Revolution, the Holocaust, etc.; thus creating not only the opportunity but the necessity to discuss their public implications. Finally, when it comes to the discussion of present-day issues, pupils should be presented with a general picture of the recent political uses of history at the international level, since this is now a phenomenon that is taking on such dimensions that knowledge concerning it is critical for future citizens.

_____________________

Further Reading

  • Resta, Giorgio, Vincenzo Zeno-Zencovich (eds.). Riparare Risarcire Ricordare. Un dialogo tra storici e giuristi. Napoli: Editoriale Scientifica, 2012.
  • Focardi, Filippo, Bruno Groppo (eds.), L’Europa e le sue memorie. Politiche e culture del ricordo dopo il 1989. Roma: Viella, 2013.
  • Belavusau, Ulad, Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias (eds.), Law and Memory: Towards Legal Governance of History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Web Resources

  • Website of Novecento.org, journal of the Istituto Nazionale Ferruccio Parri focussing on the didactics of contemporary history: www.novecento.org (last accessed: 25 Apri 2018).
  • Website of French Association Liberté pour l’histoire:
    www.lph-asso.fr (last accessed: 25 April 2018).
  • Stafford, Emma. “The Curse of 300? Popular Culture and Teaching the Spartans”, The Journal of Classics Teaching, vol. 17, issue 33 (Spring 2016): 8-13, www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-classics-teaching/article (last accessed: 25 April 2018).

_____________________

[1] Marcus Junkelmann, Hollywoods Traum von Rom. ‘Gladiator’ und die Tradition des Monumentalfilms (Mainz: Philipp von Zabern Verlag, 2004); Martin M. Winkler (ed.), Gladiator: film and history (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell 2004).
[2] Lawrence Raw, The Ridley Scott Encyclopedia (Lanham – Toronto – Plymouth, UK: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2009), 188-192.
[3] Jeroen Lauwers, Marieke Dhont, Xanne Huybrecht, “’This is Sparta!’: Discourse, Gender, and the Orient in Zack Snyder’s 300”, in Ancient Worlds in Film and Television. Gender and Politics, (eds.) Almut-Barbara Renger, Jon Solomon, (Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2017), 79-94.
[4] Matthias Middell, “«Ce n’est pas à l’Etat de dire comment on enseigne l’histoire». Geschichte und Geschichtswissenschaft in Frankreich”, Neue Politische Literatur, No. 2/3 (2006) : 187-202; René Rémond, Quand l’État se mêle de l’histoire (Paris: Stock, 2006); Pierre Nora, Françoise Chandernagor, Liberté pour l’histoire (Paris: CNRS éditions, 2008); Assemblée nationale [France], Rapport d’information fait en application de l’article 145 du règlement au nom de la mission d’information sur les questions mémorielles, Président-Rapporteur M. Bertrand Accoyer (enregistré à la Présidence de l’Assemblée nationale le 18 novembre 2008).
[5] Luigi Cajani, „Die Ostgrenze Italiens im 20. Jahrhundert. Eine Geschichte zwischen Politik und Schule“, in Der Grenzraum als Erinnerungsort. Über den Wandel zu einer postnationalen Erinnerungskultur in Europa, Patrick Ostermann, Claudia Müller, Karl-Siegbert Rehberg (eds.), (Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2012), 153-170.
[6] Georgiy Kasianov, “The Great Famine of 1932-1933 (Holodomor) and the Politics of History in Contemporary Ukraine”, in Postdiktatorische Geschichtskulturen im Süden und Osten Europas. Bestandsaufnahme und Forschungsperspektiven, ed. Stefan Troebst (Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2010), 619-641.
[7] Magdalena Marsovszky, „Die Märtyrer sind die Magyaren. Der Holocaust in Ungarn aus Sicht des Hauses des Terrors in Budapest und die Ethnisierung der Erinnerung in Ungarn”, in Die Dynamik der europäischen Rechten. Geschichte, Kontinuitäten und Wandel, eds. Claudia Globisch, Agnieszka Pufelska, Volker Weiß (Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2011), 55–74.
[8] Committee of Experts House of European History, Conceptual Basis for a House of European History (Brussels: 2008).
[9] “AHA Statement on Confederate Monuments”, Perspectives on History October 2017, https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/october-2017/aha-statement-on-confederate-monuments (last accessed: April, 25 2018).
[10] Timothy Kubal, Cultural Movements and Collective Memory: Christopher Columbus and the Rewriting of the National Origin Myth (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).
[11] Pamela Wood, “Christopher Columbus monument vandalized in Baltimore”, Baltimore Sun, August 8, 2017; Sarah Maslin Nir, Jeffery C. Mays, “Christopher Columbus statue in Central Park is vandalized”, New York Times, September 12, 2017.
[12] “En Caracas Gobierno sustituyó monumento a Colón por Guaicaipuro”, cubainformación 13.10.2015.
[13] Ilan Rachum, “Origins and Historical Significance of Día de la Raza”, Revista Europea de Estudios Latinoamericanos y del Caribe, 76 (2004): 61-81.
[14] Pablo Mardones Charlone, Francisca Fernández Droguett, “Cinco siglos resistiendo: la marcha del 12 de octubre en Buenos Aires y Santiago de Chile como memoria colectiva cronotrópica y de reivindicación amerindia en Abya Yala”, Si Somos Americanos, 16/2 (2016): 143-171.
[15] Greg Wilford, “Ukraine has removed all 1,320 statues of Lenin”, The Independent, August 20, 2017.
[16] Stuart Bunch, David J. Smith, “Empty Spaces and the Value of Symbols: Estonia’s ‘War of Monuments’ from another Angle”, in Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 59, n. 6 (2007): 913-936.

_____________________

Image Credits

angry gladiator © Hans Splinter 2010, www.flickr.com/photos/archeon (last accessed April 30, 2018).

Recommended Citation
Cajani, Luigi: Schools Facing Public History. In: Public History Weekly 6 (2018)16 , DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1515/phw-2018-11922

Editorial Responsibility
Dominika Uczkiewicz / Krzysztof Ruchniewicz

Copyright (c) 2018 by De Gruyter Oldenbourg and the author, all rights reserved. This work may be copied and redistributed for non-commercial, educational purposes, if permission is granted by the author and usage right holders. For permission please contact: elise.wintz (at) degruyter.com.

Kein anderes Unterrichtsfach ist so eng mit der Welt außerhalb des Klassenraums verbunden wie das Fach Geschichte. Vergangene Ereignisse werden in verschiedensten Kontexten öffentlich genutzt; zu künstlerischen, politischen, wirtschaftlichen oder auch kommerziellen Zwecken, wie es Werbespots oder Videospiele darstellen. Diese Vergangenheitsdarstellungen konkurrieren stark mit dem schulischen Geschichtsunterricht und müssen daher in den Lehrplan aufgenommen werden, um SchülerInnen zu einem kritischen Umgang mit ihnen zu ermächtigen.

Geschichtsfilme und andere fiktionale Werke

Die Impulse außerhalb der Schule sind sehr unterschiedlich. Besonders populär sind Filme, Fernsehserien und Bücher, die abhängig von ihrer Qualität mehr oder weniger erfolgreich das Verständnis der Öffentlichkeit von einem bestimmten Ereignis prägen.

Die LehrerInnen müssen daher diese Darstellungen mit wissenschaftlichen Forschungsergebnissen konfrontieren und auf Diskrepanzen aufmerksam machen, die mal im Sinne der künstlerischen Freiheit als Kunstgriffe entschuldigt werden können, ein anderes Mal aber Fehler oder bewusste Manipulationen sind. Ausser zur Korrektur falscher Vergangenheitsvorstellungen können LehrerInnen sie auch als Zugang zu historischem Wissen nutzen. Beispielswiese ist Ridley Scotts Film “Gladiator” (2000) gespickt mit Fehlern – angefangen bei erdachten Ereignissen, über erfundene Charaktere, bis hin zu anachronistischen Kampftechniken. Aufgrund seines großen Erfolges und des Interesses, den er für die römische Geschichte geweckt hat, bildet der Film dennoch einen guten Ausgangspunkt für eine kritische Auseinandersetzung im Geschichtsunterricht.[1] In anderen Fällen sind nicht nur die Fehler von Interesse, sondern auch die politischen und kulturellen Debatten, die einen Film oder ein Buch begleiten, und die es ermöglichen, über die ideologische Voreingenommenheit solcher Kommunikationsformate zu sprechen.

Weitere erfolgreiche Filme, wie Ridley Scotts “Königreich der Himmel” von 2005 oder Zack Snyders “300” (2007), haben Diskussionen über das Aufeinanderprallen verschiedener Kulturen ausgelöst, die eng mit aktuellen politischen Entwicklungen verbunden sind. So hat “Königreich der Himmel” widersprüchliche Kritik ausgelöst: einerseits sei er ein Propagandainstrument des von der U.S.-Regierung nach dem 11. September 2011 ausgerufenen “Kriegs gegen den Terror“, den Georg W. Bush als “Kreuzzug“ bezeichnete, andererseits vertrete er eine pro-islamische Sicht der Ereignisse, in dem er die Figur des großmütigen und toleranten Saladin mit intoleranten und gewalttätigen Christen kontrastiere.[2] Dem Film “300” wiederum wurden Rassismus, Faschismus, Homophobie und eine Ablehnung des Ostens, insbesondere Persiens, vorgeworfen, was zu Kritik seitens der iranischen Regierung führte.[3]

Geschichte im Dienste der Politik

Neben der Unterhaltungsbranche wird die Geschichte auch von politischen Kräften genutzt, um im Rahmen der üblichen Strategien gesellschaftlichen Zusammenhalt zu generieren und internationale Beziehungen zu gestalten. Außerdem kämpfen gesellschaftliche Gruppen um die Anerkennung ihrer Sicht der Vergangenheit, bestärkt durch den Demokratisierungsprozess der Geschichte, der seit den letzten 30 Jahren an Kraft gewinnt und sich bisweilen in Erinnerungskriege auswächst. Mal geraten diese von unten bzw. von oben initiierten Bewegungen in Konflikt miteinander, mal verbinden sie sich in eine gemeinsame Stoßrichtung.

Die Zahl der offiziellen Gedenkveranstaltungen, Jubiläen und Geschichtsgesetze nimmt zu. Anführen lassen sich hier die französischen “Lois mémorielles”, die den Holocaust, Sklavenhandel, Kolonialismus und den Genozid an den Armeniern behandeln,[4] die Einführung des Gedenktags (“Giorno del ricordo”) in Italien,[5] der den italienischen Opfern der Jugoslawischen Regierung am Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges gewidmet ist, und die ukrainische Gesetzgebung zum Holodomor von 1932/33.[6] Ein weiteres Instrument historischer und politischer Bildung sind spezielle Museen und/oder Ausstellungen, wie das Haus des Terrors (Terror Háza),[7] das 2002 in Budapest eröffnet wurde und die Verbrechen des faschistischen sowie des darauffolgenden kommunistischen Regimes in Ungarn thematisiert, oder das auf Initiative des Europäischen Parlaments 2017 in Brüssel eröffnete Haus der Europäischen Geschichte[8], das die Geschichte und Identität Europas vermitteln soll.

Zivilgesellschaftliche Initiativen stellen zunehmend historische Symbole infrage, die nicht von allen gesellschaftlichen Teilen akzeptiert werden. 2017 entwickelte sich in den USA eine breite Bewegung, die die Entfernung der Konföderierten-Denkmäler fordert.[9] Ebenso protestierten AktivistInnen wiederholt gegen den „Kolumbus-Tag“ und bezichtigten Kolumbus des Genozids. Vielerorts wurden die Feierlichkeiten durch einen „Tag der indigenen Bevölkerung“ ersetzt.[10] In diesem Zusammenhang kam es zu Akten des Vandalismus an Kolumbusstatuen.[11] Auf Initiative von AktivistInnen wie lokaler Verwaltungen fanden ähnliche, weitreichende Proteste auch in Südamerika statt. Sie führten 2004 zur Zerstörung der Kolumbusstatue in Caracas, die 2015 unter Anwesenheit des Venezolanischen Präsidenten Nicolás Maduro ersetzt wurde durch ein Denkmal für den Anführer des Widerstandes gegen die Conquistadores, Guaicaipuro.[12] In vielen lateinamerikanischen Staaten wurde ebenfalls der “Día de la Raza”,[13] der korrespondierend mit dem Kolumbus-Tag die Begegnung zwischen der indigenen Bevölkerung und der spanischen Kolonialisten feierte, ersetzt durch Veranstaltungen zur Feier des indigenen Widerstands oder der kulturellen Vielfalt.[14] Auch im ehemaligen sowjetischen Einflussbereich markieren Denkmalstürze einen Bruch mit der Vergangenheit: beispielweise wurden in der Ukraine tausende Leninstatuen entfernt[15] und in Tallinn löste 2007 die Entfernung des Denkmals der Befreier Tallinns aus dem Zentrum der Stadt Proteste der russischsprachigen Bevölkerung Estlands und der russischen Regierung aus.[16]

Ein Angebot an die LehrerInnen

Aber zurück in den Klassenraum. Die Frage des öffentlichen Umgangs mit Geschichte kann vor allem in zwei Momenten aufkommen: als Reaktion auf äußere Einflüsse, wenn etwa ein populärer Geschichtsfilm in die Kinos kommt oder ein sozialer bzw. politischer Konflikt ausbricht, oder wenn ein Thema auf dem Lehrplan steht, dass zu dem Zeitpunkt ein – natürlich variierend von Land zu Land – sensibles Thema darstellt wie etwa die Kreuzzüge, der europäische Kolonialismus, die Französische Revolution, das italienische Risorgimento, die Russische Revolution und der Holocaust. Dadurch ergibt sich nicht nur die Möglichkeit, sondern der Zwang, ihre öffentlichen Implikationen zu diskutieren. Schließlich sollten SchülerInnen bei tagesaktuellen Fragen die gesamte Bandbreite der gegenwärtigen internationalen politischen Bezugnahme auf die Vergangenheit deutlich gemacht werden. Es ist ein derart verbreitetes Phänomen, dass das Wissen darum entscheidend ist für zukünftige BürgerInnen .

_____________________

Literaturhinweise

  • Resta, Giorgio, Vincenzo Zeno-Zencovich (Hrsg.). Riparare Risarcire Ricordare. Un dialogo tra storici e giuristi. Napoli: Editoriale Scientifica, 2012.
  • Focardi, Filippo, Bruno Groppo (Hrsg.), L’Europa e le sue memorie. Politiche e culture del ricordo dopo il 1989. Roma: Viella, 2013.
  • Belavusau, Ulad, Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias (Hrsg.), Law and Memory: Towards Legal Governance of History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Webressourcen

_____________________

[1] Marcus Junkelmann, Hollywoods Traum von Rom. ‘Gladiator’ und die Tradition des Monumentalfilms (Mainz: Philipp von Zabern Verlag, 2004); Martin M. Winkler (ed.), Gladiator: film and history (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell 2004).
[2] Lawrence Raw, The Ridley Scott Encyclopedia (Lanham – Toronto – Plymouth, UK: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2009), 188-192.
[3] Jeroen Lauwers, Marieke Dhont, Xanne Huybrecht, “’This is Sparta!’: Discourse, Gender, and the Orient in Zack Snyder’s 300”, in Ancient Worlds in Film and Television. Gender and Politics, (eds.) Almut-Barbara Renger, Jon Solomon, (Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2017), 79-94.
[4] Matthias Middell, “«Ce n’est pas à l’Etat de dire comment on enseigne l’histoire». Geschichte und Geschichtswissenschaft in Frankreich”, Neue Politische Literatur, No. 2/3 (2006) : 187-202; René Rémond, Quand l’État se mêle de l’histoire (Paris: Stock, 2006); Pierre Nora, Françoise Chandernagor, Liberté pour l’histoire (Paris: CNRS éditions, 2008); Assemblée nationale [France], Rapport d’information fait en application de l’article 145 du règlement au nom de la mission d’information sur les questions mémorielles, Président-Rapporteur M. Bertrand Accoyer (enregistré à la Présidence de l’Assemblée nationale le 18 novembre 2008).
[5] Luigi Cajani, „Die Ostgrenze Italiens im 20. Jahrhundert. Eine Geschichte zwischen Politik und Schule“, in Der Grenzraum als Erinnerungsort. Über den Wandel zu einer postnationalen Erinnerungskultur in Europa, Patrick Ostermann, Claudia Müller, Karl-Siegbert Rehberg (eds.), (Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2012), 153-170.
[6] Georgiy Kasianov, “The Great Famine of 1932-1933 (Holodomor) and the Politics of History in Contemporary Ukraine”, in Postdiktatorische Geschichtskulturen im Süden und Osten Europas. Bestandsaufnahme und Forschungsperspektiven, ed. Stefan Troebst (Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2010), 619-641.
[7] Magdalena Marsovszky, „Die Märtyrer sind die Magyaren. Der Holocaust in Ungarn aus Sicht des Hauses des Terrors in Budapest und die Ethnisierung der Erinnerung in Ungarn”, in Die Dynamik der europäischen Rechten. Geschichte, Kontinuitäten und Wandel, eds. Claudia Globisch, Agnieszka Pufelska, Volker Weiß (Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2011), 55–74.
[8] Committee of Experts House of European History, Conceptual Basis for a House of European History (Brussels: 2008).
[9] “AHA Statement on Confederate Monuments”, Perspectives on History October 2017, https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/october-2017/aha-statement-on-confederate-monuments (letzter Zugriff: 25. April 2018).
[10] Timothy Kubal, Cultural Movements and Collective Memory: Christopher Columbus and the Rewriting of the National Origin Myth (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).
[11] Pamela Wood, “Christopher Columbus monument vandalized in Baltimore”, Baltimore Sun, August 8, 2017; Sarah Maslin Nir, Jeffery C. Mays, “Christopher Columbus statue in Central Park is vandalized”, New York Times, September 12, 2017.
[12] “En Caracas Gobierno sustituyó monumento a Colón por Guaicaipuro”, cubainformación 13.10.2015.
[13] Ilan Rachum, “Origins and Historical Significance of Día de la Raza”, Revista Europea de Estudios Latinoamericanos y del Caribe, 76 (2004): 61-81.
[14] Pablo Mardones Charlone, Francisca Fernández Droguett, “Cinco siglos resistiendo: la marcha del 12 de octubre en Buenos Aires y Santiago de Chile como memoria colectiva cronotrópica y de reivindicación amerindia en Abya Yala”, Si Somos Americanos, 16/2 (2016): 143-171.
[15] Greg Wilford, “Ukraine has removed all 1,320 statues of Lenin”, The Independent, August 20, 2017.
[16] Stuart Bunch, David J. Smith, “Empty Spaces and the Value of Symbols: Estonia’s ‘War of Monuments’ from another Angle”, in Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 59, n. 6 (2007): 913-936.

_____________________

Abbildungsnachweis
angry gladiator © Hans Splinter 2010, www.flickr.com/photos/archeon (letzter Zugriff: 30. April 2018).

Empfohlene Zitierweise
Cajani, Luigi: Schulunterricht angesichts der Public History. In: Public History Weekly 6 (2018)16 , DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1515/phw-2018-11922

Translated by Maria Albers (maria.albers /at/ hotmail. de)

Redaktionelle Verantwortung
Dominika Uczkiewicz / Krzysztof Ruchniewicz

Copyright (c) 2018 by De Gruyter Oldenbourg and the author, all rights reserved. This work may be copied and redistributed for non-commercial, educational purposes, if permission is granted by the author and usage right holders. For permission please contact: elise.wintz (at) degruyter.com.


Categories: 6 (2018) 16
DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1515/phw-2018-11922

Tags: , , , , ,

2 replies »

  1. To all our non-English speaking readers we recommend the wonderful automatic DeepL-Translator.

    The premise that today’s students learn not only from school is certainly correct. It is also correct to state that extracurricular events elated tor the understanding of history (films, monuments, debates, etc.) can, and should, be the subject of school classes. However, I do have a few points to make here:

    1) A distinction should be made between interpretations of history of an official nature (usually imposed by the authorities), which manifest themselves in the form of monuments, museums or other activities (e.g. resolutions of the parliament), and artistic interpretations, such as films. The former build up official memory – if it is inconsistent with facts (e.g. attempts to present the Solidarity movement in Poland without mentioning the role played by Lech Wałęsa), it may lead to social tensions. The latter are an expression of the artistic will of the creators, subject to interpretation by the audience (a film is made “in the mind of the viewer” – claimed Alexander Kluge) and usually have competition in the form of similar artistic works (e.g. films). In short, the former are an attempt to impose the “only right” view of history on the community, the latter are not of this nature. In the case of films, the viewer can compare different versions of the events presented (shown by different directors) and enjoy them.

    2) Top-down imagining of the past can be accompanied by pressure on schools (e.g. by making it compulsory to use certain textbooks rather than other ones) to present history in a specific way. In this context, the role of the teacher will be important, as they can submit to pressure or maintain their independence of thought. In this case, out-of-school alternative stories (e.g. films) could be used to develop critical thinking in students.

    3) One can look at historical films from the point of view of their incompatibility with the facts, but I do not think that this is the most appropriate approach. In popular films, the viewer looks for entertainment, wants to be involved in the action, identify with the characters. What is important, then, is not only how the film differs from “hard” facts, but also how the creators construct the work. Students should be aware of the fact that a film is a creation that does not need to have much in common with “facts”, so the questions about how to create a film reality and the goals behind it become important.

    4) Sándor Márai wrote that “in every epoch there was a Flaubert and a Dumas father, but in the past the reader knew perfectly well that Mrs Bovary was different from the Three Musketeers”, while ‘today he no longer knows’. This is a wider problem than just different artistic departments (e.g. films), because the basic source of information (also about history) today is the Internet, where one can find everything. A particular problem is, for example, fake news and accessing valuable knowledge in the age of information overflow becomes a challenge. Here, the role of the teacher can be extremely important.

    5) The case of Christopher Columbus is very interesting. The teacher’s role should probably be to present different points of view, which can be used for discussion with students, but the question on how to deal with the monuments of the past remains. It is said that “history is written by the winners”. The winners also demolish the old monuments and erect new ones. This, too, should be discussed.

  2. To all our non-English speaking readers we recommend the wonderful automatic DeepL-Translator.

    History education has always dealt with public history – even before it was called public history.
    Pupils went to museums, asked their parents and grandparents about their memories from the past or discussed historical movies. However, formal historical education has always positioned itself (together with academic history) as superior to those public history representations (perhaps, with the exception of museums which have always been appreciated and trusted). History teacher (supported by curriculum and textbook) presented the “correct”, “scientific” version of the past, while public history representations were used as examples of misinterpretations, factual errors, manipulations etc.

    And this text, in as much as it presents various forms of public history that influence pupils, reflects a similar approach. This is not to say that there are no errors or distortions, or manipulations, or subjectivity in public history. But neither are school textbooks, curricula, teachers’ lectures and academic works immune to those inaccuracies or malpractices. Why not use pupils’ interest in public history to raise their interest in history as such, and on the one hand, to appreciate what has been done well in the public history sphere, while on the other hand, to treat the critique of public history endeavors as a starting point for developing critical attitude toward any historical narrative, public or academic, or educational?

    There is good and bad history on both ways of dealing with the past.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest