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Ontology, sovereignty, legitimacy: two key moments when history curriculum was challenged in public discourse and the curricular effects, Australia 1950s and 2000s

Ontology, sovereignty, legitimacy: two key moments when history curriculum was challenged in... The purpose of this paper is to examine the ways that history curriculum has worked to legitimise dispossession through narratives that elide questions of Indigenous sovereignty, and which construct and consolidate white settler identity and possession.Design/methodology/approachThe paper uses two case studies to compare history education documentation and materials at key moments where dominant narratives of settler legitimacy were challenged in public discourse: (1) the post-war humanitarian agenda of fostering “international understanding” and; (2) the release and educational recommendations of the 1997 Bringing them Home Report.FindingsThe paper shows that in two moments where narratives of settler legitimacy were challenged in public discourse, the legitimacy of settler possession was reiterated in history curricula in various ways.Practical implicationsThis research suggests that the prevailing constructivist framework for history education has not sufficiently challenged criticisms of the representation of Aboriginal history and the history of settler-colonialism in the history syllabus.Originality/valueThe paper introduces two case studies of history curriculum and shows how, in different but resonant ways, curricular reforms worked to bolster the liberal credentials of the settler state. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Education Review Emerald Publishing

Ontology, sovereignty, legitimacy: two key moments when history curriculum was challenged in public discourse and the curricular effects, Australia 1950s and 2000s

History of Education Review , Volume 50 (2): 16 – Oct 5, 2021

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0819-8691
DOI
10.1108/her-07-2020-0043
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to examine the ways that history curriculum has worked to legitimise dispossession through narratives that elide questions of Indigenous sovereignty, and which construct and consolidate white settler identity and possession.Design/methodology/approachThe paper uses two case studies to compare history education documentation and materials at key moments where dominant narratives of settler legitimacy were challenged in public discourse: (1) the post-war humanitarian agenda of fostering “international understanding” and; (2) the release and educational recommendations of the 1997 Bringing them Home Report.FindingsThe paper shows that in two moments where narratives of settler legitimacy were challenged in public discourse, the legitimacy of settler possession was reiterated in history curricula in various ways.Practical implicationsThis research suggests that the prevailing constructivist framework for history education has not sufficiently challenged criticisms of the representation of Aboriginal history and the history of settler-colonialism in the history syllabus.Originality/valueThe paper introduces two case studies of history curriculum and shows how, in different but resonant ways, curricular reforms worked to bolster the liberal credentials of the settler state.

Journal

History of Education ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 5, 2021

Keywords: Australia; Curriculum; Aboriginal history; Settler-colonialism; Nation-building; History education; Bringing them Home Report

References