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Historical education in the context of modernization. Part II

Historical education in the context of modernization. Part II


Valery Tishkov, a historian, PhD, professor, the head of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of RAS and the Centre of social anthropology of RSUH: As for historical science, here we have a lot of interesting discussions and disputes. One of them concerns three levels of history and their interconnectedness: world history, national history and local history. Global projects seemed to be unsuccessful, as they have many disadvantages and few people use them, they are a waste of money. However, the latest UNESCO edition of world history was written by an international team of historians, including Russians, and it is not bad. In the past, the Soviet school was aimed at writing world history too. In the 60s-80s there was developed a World History in 13 volumes under the editorship of Zhukov. The question is: can such an experiment be implemented nowadays? This is a topic for serious discussion. I think that the idea of consolidation of Russian historians of all levels and from all regions is rather interesting. Sometimes enthusiasm in the sphere of history becomes a negation of reality. In the past, people search for the good old times. Study of the past doesn’t mean a negation of current times. Historical presentation in people’s minds is a significant question, as today history is perceived not only through science and through heritage education too. It includes the mass media, culture, movies on history, historical belles-letters. We need dialogue between professional historians and showmen dealing with history, the mass media society and writers. Historians should help them. The last 20 years have been the most fruitful period of historical knowledge development in our country: an incredible number of publications and graduates from universities in the sphere of historical science. As for schools, of course, there are some standards. This is true. In the Netherlands, for example, there is a law on the historical canon. 30-50 themes are adopted in it, which are obliged to be studied in school. There are countries in which history is not studied at all, for example in New Zealand and Australia. In our country, history is obliged to be studied. Of course, there should be a common version of our history. However, we should exclude nonsense. Nikolay Svanidze, Russian journalist, historian, political observer: Today history is very popular, however, this doesnt lead to the popularity of historical science. Years of lies. People cannot distinguish where the truth is and where a lie is. People need history for approving their points of view and for entertainment. Moreover, today the e-generation is growing, they are not used to reading paper sources of information. People are ignorant. 32% of Russians believe that the Sun circles the Earth. What conclusions should we make? I think this is not a drama. Two directions in history will be developed. The first direction is academic science. The second direction is the monitoring of publicity. I cannot say that one is more important or better than the other. These directions will inter-relate with each other. Of course, they will compete with each other for human resources. For young people, the second direction is more attractive. There is a temptation to use publicity in the sphere of bringing up younger generations. And we should do so. However, first of all we should train teachers of history. Textbooks are not as important as the presentation of events by a teacher.

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