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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: Multicultural Education and Apartheid – Educational Discourses in South Africa


Multicultural Education and Apartheid – Educational Discourses in South Africa Heike Niedrig, University of Hamburg, Germany Multiculturalism, the new name for apartheid! (Collins & Gillespie 1992) Apartheid curriculum policy may be regarded as an extreme form of ‘multicultural- ism’. (NEPI 1992: Curriculum report) During my research on the discourses around ‘multilingualism’ and on concepts for multilingual education in the Post-Apartheid-schools (1995-97), I was con- tinuously confronted with issues concerning the relationship between language and culture. In the South African context, these issues were highly charged emo- tionally; and while some of my informants were adamant that there was a strong connection between language and cultural identity, others would fiercely reject the notion of an innate linkage between the two and question the concept of ‘cul- tural identity’ altogether. My two quotes (above) indicate the historical and po- litical frame for the heated debate as does the following interview statement of a South African educational researcher: Apartheid is a negative benchmark for our debates about the appropriate educational response to difference. […] And since apartheid education used cultural difference as its ideological foundation, it is not at all surprising that South Africans are both at home in talking about education and cultural difference and repelled by it (Joe Mul- ler, interviewed in Moore, 1993). As a researcher in Comparative and Multicultural Education, I studied the South African educational discourse in order to contrast it with similar discourses in Germany. Basil Moore, an Australian based educational researcher and South African émigré, claims that the historical...

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