International Perspectives on Teaching Rival Histories

Pedagogical Responses to Contested Narratives and the History Wars

  • Henrik Åström Elmersjö
  • Anna Clark
  • Monika Vinterek

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. Henrik Åström Elmersjö, Anna Clark, Monika Vinterek
    Pages 1-14
  3. Historical Cultures and National Histories

  4. Official Histories in Multicultural Societies

  5. Critical Thinking and Multiperspectivity

  6. Epilogue

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 251-251
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 269-292

About this book


This book presents a survey of approaches to dealing with ‘rival histories’ in the classroom, arguing that approaching this problem requires great sensitivity to differing national, educational and narrative contexts. Contested narratives and disputed histories have long been an important issue in history-teaching all over the world, and have even been described as the ‘history’ or ‘culture’ wars. In this book, authors from across the globe ponder the question “what can teachers do (and what are they doing) to address conflicting narratives of the same past?”, and puts an epistemological issue at the heart of the discussion: what does it mean for the epistemology of history, if it is possible to teach more than one narrative? 

Divided into three sections that deal with historical cultures, multicultural societies and multiperspectivity, the chapters of the book showcase that dealing with rival histories is very much dependent on context, and that diverse teaching traditions and societal debates mean that teachers’ abilities in engaging with the teaching of rival narratives are very different. The volume will be compelling reading for students and researchers in the fields of education, history, sociology and philosophy, as well as practising teachers.


diversity history teaching culture multicultural sociology of education

Editors and affiliations

  • Henrik Åström Elmersjö
    • 1
  • Anna Clark
    • 2
  • Monika Vinterek
    • 3
  1. 1.Umeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  2. 2.University of Technology SydneySydney, NSWAustralia
  3. 3.Dalarna UniversityFalunSweden

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages Education
  • Print ISBN 978-1-137-55431-4
  • Online ISBN 978-1-137-55432-1
  • Buy this book on publisher's site