Vanja Lozic, a participant in CiCe’s 4th European Research Student Conference in Malmö University, 2009, and recipient of the conference Best Student Paper Award has now been awarded the Best Dissertation Award by Malmö University in September 2010.
The judges praised the paper, entitled “What about history-teaching in hybrid societies? The profile, structure and context of history in multicultural schools.” as a “dissertation about the consequences of the emergence of the so-called multicultural society in Sweden on teaching of the subject of history.”
The award sought to recognize how “through interviews with high school students, teachers and authors of history textbook, and through analysis of textbooks Vanja Lozic has praiseworthy analyzed and described the relationship between ethnic identities among youth and their views on the subject of history. In this manner, new theories have been integrated into central themes of teacher education.”
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The overall aim of the dissertation was to problematise the teaching of history as a subject, based on the relationship between students' own (ethnic) identification and their views of the teaching of history as a subject as well as the affects of history teaching on the students' identification. Lozic examines the aim of history teaching in so-called multicultural societies, as perceived by the interviewed individuals, discussing the kind of historical knowledge they regard as relevant and studying processes of identification. By analysing these issues he attempts to show how history, as a school-subject, is perceived. The study focuses on what appears to be demanded of the subject of history in order for it to be accepted as both applicable and significant within a so-called multicultural social context. The title of the thesis is In the Shadow of a History Canon: History Taught as a Subject and Identification Formation in a 21st Century Multicultural Society
The majority of pupils point out that historical narratives often portray a simplified and West-Eurocentric view of history and reproduce the dichotomy between ‘us’ and ‘them’. Many interviewed pupils point out that Euro-centricity is the most noticeable problem. A student concludes that “just because Europe is in the centre of the map of the World it doesn't mean that Europe should be in the centre of the interpretation of history”. Thus the majority of the students think that there should be a shift in historical perspectives, namely, through the widening of the historical horizon.
The global economy, media's impact on the students' world-views, food-habits, common generational experiences, students' plans to travel and study abroad, trips and contact with parents' country of birth as well as parents' world-views, complex ethnic identifications, relations to friends, localities, and so on affect the interviewed students' views on the content and aim of history. Another explanation to the common views on the subject can be found in the fact that many students transcend narrow and essentialistic ethnic identifications, show signs of hybrid identifications and are affected by cross-cultural experiences.
More details (in Swedish) can be found on the Malmo University website