The sidewalk is a history book: Reflections on linking historical consciousness to uses of history

 

Authors

Kenneth Nordgren

Affiliation

Karlstad University, Sweden

Abstract

The ongoing discussion about what constitutes historical consciousness is intensifying within the growing international community of history-education researchers. What started as an exploration of how life outside schools affects our historical thinking has become a key concept for structuring formal education. This shift has largely been positive; however, there are reasons for caution. If practical adaption means outlining, classifying, and measuring levels of achieved awareness, it also presents a risk of losing the initial reason for considering the wider influence on our perceptions and orientations. My reflection in this article concerns this paradox and how it can affect a complementary concept, use of history. Using examples from everyday historical representations in public life, namely song lyrics, the BLM, and Sweden’s approach to Covid 19, I demonstrate why history education requires a broad understanding of historical consciousness and a readiness to work with public uses of history.

Keywords

Historical consciousness, Uses of history, History education, History didactics

How to Cite:

Nordgren, K. (2021). The sidewalk is a history book: Reflections on linking historical consciousness to uses of history, Historical Encounters, 8(1), 1-15. https://doi.org/10.52289/hej8.101

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  • Published 4 May 2021

  • Double Blind Peer Reviewed

  • Author Retains Copyright

  • Distributed under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 License