Article published in:Historical Representation
[Journal of Narrative and Life History 4:4] 1994
► pp. 257–275
Abstract I use the idea of consumption to discuss questions of agency and purpose in history. History, as a consumer of pasts, is itself an agent in the interpretive strategies employed in the construction of a historical narrative. History also consumes people as it attempts to impose its homogenizing narrative. In these senses, there is purpose: to give order and meaning to—thus prioritizing—certain pasts over others and to define commonality—especially of the nation or nation-state—and thus marginality. This view brings out the historicity of history: that there is always contestation in representations of the past, and that there is considerable variability in how individuals make such history meaningful to themselves. The latter brings out another notion of consumption—that individuals consume history. Which parts of history people imbibe, however, depend on connections with their experience, their own pasts and histories. In terms of pedagogy, we must be aware that objectivistic history often meets resistance, invites parody, or fosters disbelief. If one goal of teaching history is to foster belief in the nation-state, then a monological narrative might not be the best way to accomplish that goal. (History; Education; Nation)
Published online: 04 August 2015
Bouwsma, W. J.
Clifford, J., & Marcus, G. (Eds.)
de Certeau, M.
Droysen, J. G.
Harootunian, H. D.
Holt, T. C.
Mink, L. O.
Polkinghorne, D. E.
Wineberg, S. S.
Cited by 2 other publications
Neack, Laura & Roger M. Knudson
Wertsch, James V.
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