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Writing Postcolonial Histories of Intercultural Education


Edited By Heike Niedrig and Christian Ydesen

Bringing together a group of international researchers from two educational sub-disciplines – «History of Education» and «Intercultural Education» – the contributions to this volume provide insights into the (pre-)history of intercultural issues in education across a vast range of historical, national-geographical and political contexts. The anthology takes its readers on a fascinating journey around the globe, presenting case studies from Asia, Africa, Europe and America. The coherence of the journey is found in recurring themes and questions, such as: How does the discourse on «multiculturalism» or «intercultural learning» construct the norm and the Others in these educational settings? Who has the power of definition? And what are the functions and effects of these processes of Othering?


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Heike Niedrig / Christian Ydesen: Writing Postcolonial Histories of Intercultural Education – An Introduction


Writing Postcolonial Histories of Intercultural Education – An Introduction Heike Niedrig and Christian Ydesen 1. “Intercultural Education” – an educational concept with a “short history”… Even though our report of the dynamics at the symposium from which this an- thology originated (see preface) might suggest it, we do not claim that a histori- cal accounting of the development of “multicultural education” is completely new. In fact, almost any academic publication that provides an introduction to issues of multi- or intercultural education/pedagogy starts with a short review of the different stages of its development. As a rule, however, this educational de- velopment is located in the context of mass migration after World War II, and the scope of historical research is rather limited (cp. the comprehensive critical review by Myers 2009). This might not be so very surprising when considering European nations. But as far as we know, the discussion about intercultural or multicultural education does not reach further back than the 1970s, even in countries with a long history of immigration that define themselves explicitly as immigration countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States (see e.g., Kasinitz, Waters & Mollenkopf 2002; Levitt & Waters 2002). For a long time, the dominant cultural identity in Australia and Canada was – due to their Com- monwealth membership – British; and their “native populations” were not per- ceived as cultural collectives of equal standing. Therefore, a new orientation in education globally only came about as a result of post-war immigration from Southern and Eastern European and from...

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