Historie – Otázky – Problémy

The presence of the past – paths of modern historiography and ways of teaching modern history


Abstract: The essay deals with the relationship between history as science and as a school subject (teaching of history). Although these two areas of modern history culture are closely interlinked, both in topic and in methodology, they pursue different objectives. Both interpret historical reality, but each with a different aim – the true objective of teaching history is to cultivate historical consciousness, whereas the aim of scientific study of history is to reveal the actual course of real events by means of historiographic „self-knowledge“, i.e. through finding the place of the historian in his time and his socio-cultural milieu (as suggested especially by history science in the second half of the past century).
These starting points also influence the choice and interpretation of topics: for example the Marxist concept of history, whose declared hegemon of modern history, the proletariat, has in fact disappeared, its real life having been transformed into an abstract idea of „organized movement“, „party congresses“ etc. Another example might be the failure of the Council of Europe to introduce a uniform periodization of European history, since the suggested periods sometimes proved unacceptable to certain countries; while both Czechs and Slovaks accept 1945 as the end of the war, the same does not apply to the Baltic countries.
Finally, there is also the need to study historical arguments, used in public as a political or other instrument. In other words, the „historical“ (especially national) story of a nation, for a long time seen as a continual story, has in the last few decades changed into a „puzzle“, i.e. into an act of assembling various, often merely plausible, stories. Here lies a potential danger for history as science, but at the same time it is also a unique challenge for history as school subject, which, given that it is based on history consciousness, cannot avoid coming to terms with this „puzzle“, which should also be analyzed by the didactics of history.

Key words: history science, school history, history conscioussnes, history and values

PhDr. Mária Tonková, CSc., působí na Katedre histórie Pedagogické fakulty Univerzity Komenského v Bratislavě. Specializuje se na soudobé evropské dějiny, zejména balkánských zemí, a na dějiny a teorii dějepisectví. Je autorkou řady studií, spoluautorkou několika monografií a učebnic dějepisu (maria.tonkova@fedu.uniba.sk)