History in the making: Constructions of 'nation' and 'citizen'

Year: 2006

Author: Halbert, Kelsey

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Citizenship education has undergone a revival in Australia over the past decade in response to national historical milestones and issues such as globalisation and multiculturalism. History teaching is recognised by citizenship educators as promoting nationalism. A deconstruction of the ways in which the 2004 Queensland Senior Modern History syllabus presents 'nation' and 'citizen' raises questions about history teaching and citizenship more generally.

This presentation uses Foucault's conception of technologies of the self and subjectification as a framework for discussing the ways in which students are positioned within the document ambivalently as subjects of a global society as well as citizens of a nation. Analytical examples illuminate the position of the 'citizen' and diminished presence of the 'nation'. The 'nation' is not the dominant point of orientation in the document, which also explores issues at an individual, community and global level. This indicates a shift from knowledgeable national citizens to the fostering of social subjects with capacities such as reflection, critical analysis, tolerance and evaluation. The education of 'social' subjects within the history syllabus encompasses many spheres of belonging and a dynamic view of citizenship education.

Keywords: Curriculum and specific curriculum areas - History