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Postcolonial history education: Issues, tensions and opportunities



Peter Brett

Robert Guyver


This paper introduces a journal special issue devoted to an exploration of post-colonial history education with contributions from Ghana, Uganda, New Zealand, Canada, Botswana, Nigeria, Cyprus, Lebanon and London. It provides an overview of key issues, tensions and opportunities around decolonising the history curriculum. Relevant contexts such as the ‘History Wars’, subaltern studies, the conception of decolonising the mind and the possibilities of de-colonising pedagogies are explored. History education lenses around critical historical literacy, historical consciousness, multidimensional identities and multi-perspectivity are brought to bear upon the question of re-thinking forms of postcolonial history education. Specific political circumstances inform the nature of history education in every national jurisdiction; here the contemporary Black Lives Matter campaign, the fallout from the mismanagement of the fate of the ‘Windrush’ settlers in the UK and the recent focus of protestors globally upon colonial oppressors memorialised in statues frame the authors’ reflections. However, echoing the optimism of most of the special issue contributions, opportunities to build bridges between divided communities, open up more inclusive history curricula to student voices and nuance and complicate homogeneous national narratives are identified and recommended.


Postcolonial history, History education

How to Cite:

Brett, P., & Guyver, R. (2021). Postcolonial history education: Issues, tensions and opportunities. Historical Encounters, 8(2), 1-17.


  • Published 6 May 2021

  • Double Blind Peer Reviewed

  • Author Retains Copyright

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

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