Pedagogies of Memory. Public Education as Long-Distance Solidarity

Year: 2021

Author: Cervinkova, Hana

Type of paper: Symposium

Public education is often framed as a state-driven process of “producing” educated persons within schools (Levinson, Foley, Holland 1996) through which validated set of civic values and imaginaries of belonging are transmitted. History and civics curricula play an important role in this regard, instilling on the one hand nationally-bound visions of the past while also promulgating internationally sanctioned set of liberal democratic norms (Rubin & Cervinkova 2020). These official historical and civic narratives are often in conflict with the history in person - the personal or “intimate formations result[ing] from the practice of identification in historically specific times and places” (Holland and Lave 2001, 18). The silencing and exclusion of diverse historical memories of individuals and communities in the educational experience have deep implications for civic identities, especially in post-colonial and post-conflict contexts (Abu El-Haj 2015, Rubin & Cervinkova 2020). This paper attempts to think about how pedagogies of memory – educational approaches and practices that disrupt the deafening silences of national homogeneity of remembering – can work toward the recharting of the role of public education in an interdependent world. The paper will discuss concrete examples of educational efforts that open up spaces for the nurturing of diverse historical and civic imaginaries, incorporating relational ways of thinking about history and memory in education in order to foster solidarities of imagination and practice that go beyond narrowly defined categories of belonging. Conceptually, the paper draws primarily on Michael Rothberg’s notion of long-distance solidarity, embedded in multidirectional understanding of memory and historical responsibility. (Rothberg 2019) The author will discuss how pedagogies that approach collective memory as a dialogical and multidirectional process can create long-distance solidarities, even as they reveal implication.Abu El-Haj, T. R. 2015. Unsettled belonging. University of Chicago Press.Holland, D., Lave J. 2001. History in person: Enduring struggles, contentious practice, intimate identities. New Mexico: School for Advanced Research Press.Levinson B., Foley D., Holland D. (Eds). 1996. The Cultural Production of the Educated Person: Critical Ethnographies of Schooling and Local Practice. Albany: SUNY Press.Rothberg M.. 2019. The Implicated Subject: Beyond Victims and Perpetrators. Stanford UP.Rubin B.C., Cervinkova H. 2020. Challenging Silences: Historical Memory and Democratic Citizenship Education in Poland and Guatemala. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 51 (2):178-194.