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Annual Conference Presentations

Please send the SIG Convenors the powerpoints slides from any presentation delivered in the "History and Education" stream of the annual AARE Conference that you would like to share with members of the SIG.


Film, television, and the pedagogical encounter with historical narratives

[ Adelaide, 2013 ]

Within post-industrial knowledge economies we encounter ‘history’ everywhere. Whether through the medium of the nightly news; in the press; as television docudramas, Hollywood films, or cable TV documentaries; in novels; through museum exhibits; commemoration ceremonies; monuments to the fallen; and increasingly on the internet, through websites, vodcasts and podcasts, we cannot avoid the encounter with history. We are, as Torpey (2004) has observed, being “buried under an avalanche of history” (p. 241); and within this avalanche “most people regard film and television, whether fiction or documentary, as a major source of historical knowledge” (Ashton & Hamilton, 2007, p. 21). Lorenz (2004) even claims that “television and film have replaced the book as the most important media of information” (p. 27); and Rosenstone (2006) concurs, declaring that “visual media is the chief conveyer of public history in our culture” (p. 12). In this symposium, we explore pedagogical issues that arise when encountering celluloid history. The symposium addresses this issue from a number of perspectives, including insights drawn from an empirical study of how teachers use historical film as narrative sources in the classroom; what celebrity encounters with unexpected genealogies in the television program Who Do You Think You Are? tells us about the narrative encounter; and how celluloid conspiracy theory narratives present a challenge to current concepts of historical literacy, and what this might mean for how we think about the components of a critical history education.


Perspectives on the politics of a national History curriculum

History education has been a focus of political debate in Australia since the early 1990s. The debate has been popularly dramatized as the ‘History Wars’, and seems to have become an on-going feature of the cultural landscape. Considered to be a crucible for the development of national identity, History as a school subject is regularly an area of media attention, government disquiet, and a site of struggle over collective memory and cultural literacy. The development of a national History curriculum can be viewed as both an outcome of, and intervention into, this debate. This symposium provides multiple perspectives on the Australian Curriculum: History, drawing together empirical work that has explored teachers’ understanding and perspectives of the ideological implications of history teaching; with critical analysis of the extent to which the national curriculum has been able to entertain and adopt global perspectives on the past; and in response to recent conservative concerns, philosophical exploration of the problem of ‘Gallipoli’ in the national historical and political consciousness, using a Nietzschean framework for thinking about the uses and abuses of historical discourse.

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