Lies My Teacher Told Me

Episodes

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01All Is Revision20200127The school history text book has always been a potential minefield. Every nation setting its histories before its children makes choices. The textbook is frequently used as a primer for the story of the nation when young minds are often unlikely to question or even pay attention to a story that may go on to shape their understanding of their place as citizens so what do we want children to make of their own national past? Should we even teach them a history of the nation? Are facts and dates the stuff of critical understanding? Historian Priya Atwal explores the global issues in telling textbook national history from Lebanon to Japan to Northern Ireland & India as she explores history's many uses as pedagogy and sometimes propaganda.
Producer: Mark Burman

Historian Priya Atwal explores the global pitfalls in telling textbook national history

When the textbooks are faked - history is subverted.

01All is Revision20200127The school history text book has always been a potential minefield. Every nation setting its histories before its children makes choices. The textbook is frequently used as a primer for the story of the nation when young minds are often unlikely to question or even pay attention to a story that may go on to shape their understanding of their place as citizens so what do we want children to make of their own national past? Should we even teach them a history of the nation? Are facts and dates the stuff of critical understanding? Historian Priya Atwal explores the global issues in telling textbook national history from Lebanon to Japan to Northern Ireland & India as she explores history's many uses as pedagogy and sometimes propaganda.
Producer: Mark Burman

Historian Priya Atwal explores the global pitfalls in telling textbook national history

When the textbooks are faked - history is subverted.

02Lebanon-History Interrupted20200128Historian Priya Atwal explores the global pitfalls in telling textbook national history. Lebanon has suffered sectarian violence, invasion, civil war and turmoil for much of its history. The future itself is now being played out daily on the streets amidst mass protest as people seek redress for a more just society. Nothing that has led to this struggle or indeed much of anything else relevant to Lebanon's modern existence can be found in the classroom itself. Children must learn a history that is frozen at 1943, the year Lebanon achieved independence. It has been this way for generations. When peace finally came after the bitter civil war all parties called for a new unified history to be written-itself extremely problematic but nothing has been agreed on so for now children open their textbooks to a past where time is frozen.

When the textbooks are faked - history is subverted.

03Saffronising History20200129Historian Priya Atwal explores the global pitfalls in telling textbook national history. India began its new independent life with its history textbooks still coloured by a colonial telling of the past. A new generation of historians like Romila Thapar brought both academic rigour and historical enquiry to the creation of new texts for the classroom, but increasingly the 'saffronisation" of history - Hindu nationalist narratives - have begun to impact on both the facts of history and the struggle for the story of India.

Producer: Mark Burman

When the textbooks are faked - history is subverted.

04Japan - Revising the past20200130Historian Priya Atwal explores the global pitfalls in telling textbook national history. Japan's 20th century Imperial past and war in South East Asia has often been a fault line at home & abroad. Within Japan itself the American occupation left a confusing legacy of freedom from direct government interference as to what should be told in the history textbook and a system of opaque censorship. For a generation of teachers scarred by the war there was an insistence on airing the crimes of the recent past and series of trials brought by one historian over freedom from textbook interference eventually saw a nationalist backlash over the emphasis on 'negative' history. In turn these internal disputes over textbook accounts of the war and their possible distortions provoked diplomatic rows with China and South Korea over the legacy of the past & Japanese contrition.
Producer: Mark Burman

When the textbooks are faked - history is subverted.

05Northern Ireland-Healing History?20200131Historian Priya Atwal concludes her examination of how national history is told across the globe with the story of Northern Ireland. History itself, violent, sectarian & present frequently surrounded the classroom with its pupils educated in a segregated school system in a divided society. But beginning in the 1970's a new kind of history teaching began to promise a transformation in the ways history could detoxify partisan narratives.
Producer: Mark Burman

Historian Priya Atwal ends her examination of textbook history with Northern Ireland

When the textbooks are faked - history is subverted.

Historian Priya Atwal concludes her examination of how national history is told across the globe with the story of Northern Ireland. History itself, violent, sectarian & present frequently entered into the classroom with its pupils but history teaching has for many years now been an effective dialogue with the past that is not dominated by the textbook but could history in the classroom help change lives and understanding?
Producer: Mark Burman