1st Edition

Historical and Moral Consciousness in Education Learning Ethics for Democratic Citizenship Education

    214 Pages
    by Routledge

    214 Pages
    by Routledge

    Historical and Moral Consciousness highlights how ethics can be understood in the context of History education. It analyses the qualitative differences in how young people respond to historical and moral dilemmas of relevance to democratic values and human rights education.

    Drawing on a four-year international project, the book offers nuanced discussion and new scholarly understanding of the intersections between historical consciousness and moral consciousness within research. It develops new theoretical tools for history teaching and learning that can support teachers as they endeavor to educate for democratic citizenship. The book includes a meta-analysis of research within history Didaktik and around historical events with a moral bearing, and presents a comparative study of Australian, Finnish, and Swedish high school students’ moral understandings of historical dilemmas.

    Raising important questions about how our learning from the past is intertwined with our present and future interpretations and judgements, this book will be of great interest to academics, scholars, teachers, and post graduate students in the fields of history education, democratic education, human rights education, and citizenship education.

    List of Tables


    Chapter 1: Introduction

    PART I:  Reflections in research

    Chapter 2: Historical consciousness and the human condition – revisiting moral motivations and their implications for education

    Chapter 3: Language as a means to broaden horizons of perception: third order concepts in research about Historical Consciousness

    Chapter 4: Systematic review of historical consciousness and moral consciousness (mapping the material but understanding the field theoretically)

    Chapter 5: Discourses of historical consciousness and moral consciousness in Australian doctoral theses

    Chapter 6: Why is ethics important in history education? A dialogue between the various ways of understanding the relationship between ethics and historical consciousness

    PART II: Young people’s perceptions / Concepts applied

    Chapter 7: In search for intersections of historical and moral consciousness in students’ answers: how a research instrument was designed and used

    Chapter 8: Temporal orientation and moral reflections

    Chapter 9: Exploring moral sensitivity and historical empathy in students’ response to a historical moral dilemma

    Chapter 10: History interactions: Students pose questions to a difficult past

    Chapter 11: Students on moral judgment making in History and the place of moral questions in the History Classroom

    PART III: Conclusions and implications for teaching

    Chapter 12: Conclusions – a new theoretical framework


    Niklas Ammert is Professor in History at Linnaeus University, Sweden.

    Silvia Edling is Professor in Curriculum Studies at the University of Gävle, Sweden.

    Jan Löfström is Associate Professor in History and Social Studies Education at the University of Turku, Finland and Visiting Professor of History Education at Linnaeus University, Sweden.

    Heather Sharp is Associate Professor in Education at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

    "In many countries, teachers struggle with polarized debates in their classrooms about moral issues related to present interpretations of the past, about what was right and wrong then and now. This book provides a fascinating and much-needed theoretical and empirical study of how historical consciousness and moral consciousness are intersected. Focusing on third-order concepts that stimulate self-reflection on personal values and emotions, the authors offer new theoretical tools for research on history teaching and citizenship education. Historical and Moral Consciousness in Education is well written and cogently argued."

    Maria Grever, em. professor Theory of Historical Culture, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands

    "A great and fascinating contribution. This is what the fields of history education and civic education really need. New and suggesting ideas about and how representations about the past and the problems of the present are connected."

    Mario Carretero, is Professor in psychology at Autonoma University of Madrid


    "Historical and Moral Consciousness in Education makes an important and welcome contribution to studies in historical consciousness and democratic education. The authors reject the perceived separation between historical consciousness and moral consciousness, arguing instead that learning about the past is an inescapably moral endeavor. Drawing on empirical studies with students in Australia, Finland, and Sweden, the book explores how our understanding of what went on in other times and places shapes our moral identity in the present, and our sense of responsibility to both the past and future. This book will be of interest to scholars of historical consciousness, history teachers, and teacher educators alike."

    Ann Chinnery is a professor in the Education department at Simon Fraser University


    "At a time when polarized societies struggle with issues of right and wrong, good and evil, and desirable and undesirable, this timely book provides a roadmap for using history and civics instruction to enrich students’ engagement with issues of morality. The authors explore the complex and abstract theories associated with historical consciousness and moral consciousness within the concrete settings of classrooms in international contexts. They investigate how history and civics education might nurture in young people a commitment to human rights, preparing them for morally-responsible citizenship. Researchers and educators will find this work an indispensable contribution in defining and exploring the intersections between historical consciousness and moral consciousness, topics that are gaining importance in a morally-disoriented world."

    Jeffery D Nokes is a professor in the History Department at Brigham Young University.


    Human life is diverse both within and across times. Fostering young students' abilities to really partake in social life characterized by this multi-dimensional diversity, therefore, requires to not only endow them with a historical knowledge and moral principles separately, but to enable them to actively, independently and critically develop their own abilities to perceive and reflect on and to rationally (inter)act at the intersections of these two dimensions of human life. Drawing on the concept of "historical consciousness" for the spectrum of making sense of time and exploring different theories for conceptualising a counterpart of 'moral consciousness', this book both reports on empirical findings in studies from different countries on students' conceptualisations and argumentations, theoretically develops a set of insights and concepts by which the intersecting of the two dimensions can and should be further explored, and draws a set of highly recommendable conclusions for integrating this dimension of young students' personal development in school curricula.

    Andreas Körber, professor in history education, University of Hamburg, Germany