Inheriting the past: Exploring historical consciousness across generations

Publisher:
HERMES History Education Research Network
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Historical Encounters, 2014, 1 pp. 88 - 102
Issue Date:
2014-01
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Despite significant research into the meaning and operation of historical consciousness, there is still much to be understood about its hereditary function. For example, what does historical inheritance look like? How does it influence our individual and collective historical consciousnesses? And, just as critically, what happens to historical consciousness when history is deliberately withheld, when that inheritance is suspended or severed? As a way into some of these questions about passing on the past, this paper draws on a qualitative research project into historical consciousness in Australia to explore how so-called `ordinary people see themselves as part of a historical narrative. It reveals that historical inheritance is critical to our historical consciousness, and it notes the profound impact of forgetting on participants, raising important questions about the role of `silence and `absence in the formation of historical consciousness.
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