Frå oppdagingar til bistand. Forteljingar om møter mellom europearar og kulturar utanfor Europa i historielærebøker etter Kunnskapsløftet
MetadataShow full item record
- Master theses 
Historical awareness is part of our identity and provides orientation at the crossroads between perceived past, lived present and expected future. History textbooks are important sources for historical awareness. In this thesis, I analyse the representation of Europeans and Non-Europeans as well as the portrayal of their encounters in eleven Norwegian history textbooks used in primary and lower secondary school. The textbooks are from the main textbook publishers in Norway and are written in accordance with the national 2006 Knowledge Promotion Reform (Kunnskapsløftet). Based on the national subject curriculum I concentrate on the three topics that portray the most evident encounters in the textbooks: 1) European Discoveries, 2) Imperialism, and 3) Decolonisation. I use Jörn Rüsen, Hayden White, Peter Aronsson and Niels Kayser Nielsen´s typologies to explore the narratives which the textbooks construct and to discuss the orientation they offer pupils. I identify two competing narratives throughout the topics. First, a traditional narrative which traces the origins of today´s “International Community” and highlights European development as the main historical force. Second, a critical narrative which criticises European behaviour and shapes storylines of recurring tragedies. An exemplary narrative occurs at the intersection of these two narratives. It suggests to pupils that they, as powerful Europeans, are the gatekeepers of the International Community´s values and should show benevolence to the rest of the world by helping them take up the “good and right universal values” of democracy and a functioning economy. The exemplary narrative promotes values such as democracy and human rights and therefore complies with the aim of the national curriculum. It is, however, composed of two elements that independently may hinder other objectives of the curriculum. The critical narrative implies that encounters between cultures are challenging and that the outcome of cultural encounters is uncertain. While the Eurocentric traditional narrative encourages the values of equality, it also endorses a European hegemony and may consequently be a hindrance to counteract discrimination and promote intercultural tolerance. Finally, the exemplary function is founded on a combination of guilt and superiority, and thus I argue that it provides pupils with a potentially unfortunate ground for action.