History school textbooks and key events: A survey of russian teachers

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Educational Practice and Theory, ISSN: 2201-0599, Vol: 37, Issue: 2, Page: 59-78

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Zajda, Joseph; Smith, Ken
James Nicholas Publishers
Social Sciences; Education; History
article description
The politicizing of Russian history textbooks and the imperatives of the Russian history standards to promote patriotism and rejection of Western models of history education signal a new ideological transformation in history education in the RF. Ideology, in this case the ʼnational ideology’ promoted by President Putin (2014), and his followers, has a powerful influence on the new representations of key events in Russian history. Some scholars argue that school history textbooks represent a clear manifestation of ideological discourses in historiography and historical understandings (Zajda & Whitehouse, 2009; Zajda, 2014a). The ideological function of textbooks has been analysed by Apple (1979, 2004), Anyon (1979), Geertz, (1964), Macintyre and Clark (2003), Pratte, (1977), Sutherland, (1985), Henderson & Zajda (2015; Zajda (2015), and others, mainly through the framework of structuralist and post-structuralist discourses in curriculum and pedagogy. An analysis of current Russian history textbooks demonstrates that there has been a definite ideological shift in the politicizing of history education in schools across the RF, and an ideological re-positioning of Russian history textbooks, in their interpretation and emphasis of historical narratives. It signals a pronounced exercise in forging a new identity, nation-building and a positive re-affirmation of the greatness of the contemporary Russian state (Zajda, 2014b). Grounded in the historical- comparative research methodology paradigm, this article discusses the results of a questionnaire given to Russian history teachers. It discusses their views and attitudes towards key events and their preferences for specific history textbooks in Grades 6-11.