University of Gävle awarded millions for research on how historical consciousness via history teaching relates to moral consciousness

The University of Gävle has together with three other higher learning institutions been awarded 5,6 million SEK by the Swedish Research Council to deepen knowledge about the correlation between historical consciousness and moral consciousness from the perspective of history didactics.

“It is an incredibly exciting field to as a researcher, “says Silvia Edling, reader of curriculum studies at the University of Gävle.

This four-year project will use text analysis of earlier historical research between the years of 1980-2019, and also gather information through questionnaires and interviews on how fifteen-year-olds in Finland and Sweden reason morally about historical dilemmas.

Brexit, Trump and an ever-growing right-wing extremist movement within democratic states are current components within populist forces that propagate simplistic answers and harbour a will to recreate a glorified national past, “clean” from immigrants and people who see the world differently.

In these cases, the past tends to transform into something alluring and perfect, something that is attractive in times that seem threatening and hard to understand.

However, such views on the past are roughly simplified. History is as multifaceted and complex as our views of history.

“The project has a great ability to understand the complex present we live in, where political currents, values and daily actions have clear parallels to the past,” Silvia Edling says.

Except for the University of Gävle, there are three other participating higher education institutions: the host university Linnaeus University, University of Helsinki (Finland) and University of Newcastle (Australia)

The project members and its references are researchers who are leading within issues regarding historical consciousness and/or moral consciousness and who may contribute with a rich reference material and knowledge in this specific field.

“The strengths of the projects are first its potential to develop a research field with obvious knowledge gaps, but also its ability to contribute with teaching tools to strengthen the teaching of history in its mission to create democratic citizens” Silvia Edling states.

For more information, please contact:
Silvia Edling, reader in curriculum studies at the University of Gävle
Phone: 026-64 82 60, 076-8587747
Email: silvia.edling@hig.se

 

Text: Douglas Öhrbom