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History, Remembrance and Religious Education


Stephen G. Parker, Rob Freathy and Leslie J. Francis

How should the Holocaust be taught in schools, and to what end? What role should religious education play in recounting and remembering this human catastrophe? How has the nature and purpose of religious education changed and developed over time? What contribution should religious education make to identity formation, particularly regarding the role of memory, heritage and tradition? The scholarly reflections in this volume, drawing upon historical, theoretical and empirical perspectives, provide insights into past, present and potential future developments in religious and values education in a range of national contexts, including Germany, Israel, Norway, Canada and South Africa. The chapters fall under three headings: fostering a culture of remembrance; historical perspectives on religious education; and history, tradition, memory and identity. Together they form a unique collection of international perspectives upon these interlocking themes.
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5 Raiders of the Lost Archives: Searching for the Hidden History of Religious Education in England



This chapter provides a justification for historical inquiry in Religious Education research and a critique of the existing historiography of Religious Education in England. It then provides a report of two research projects funded by The British Academy and the Westhill Endowment Trust. These projects were both concerned to address the problems we had identified in the existing historiography by exploring the ‘hidden history’ of Religious Education in England between 1969 and 1979, when a radical shift in the nature and purpose of the subject is alleged to have occurred. The main methodological and substantive findings from these projects are discussed, as well as the extent to which we succeeded in achieving our aims. Finally, we briefly set out our agenda for future historical research based on a discussion of the need to place the history of Religious Education in England in four particular contexts: the wider curriculum; educational institutions and structures; religion(s) and the academic study of religion(s); and international and supranational comparators, movements and influences. This process of curriculum contextualization implies not just drilling down within the existing historiographical parameters of English Religious Education to unearth previously hidden data, but reframing the field of study more broadly and in a manner that might be relevant for all curriculum history. ← 105 | 106 →

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