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  • 1.
    Almqvist Nielsen, Lena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Förhistorien som kulturellt minne: historiekulturell förändring i svenska läroböcker 1903-20102014Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Scandinavian prehistory has hitherto received little attention in the field of history didactics. In Swedish schools, it is taught in the lower grades in accordance with traditional periodization: the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age and the Viking Age. The aim of the present thesis is to provide an overview of Scandinavian prehistory as presented by 20th- and early 21st-century history textbooks and to trace its development and revisions.

    These revisions are situated in relation to contemporary society and concurrent developments in archaeological research. This study attempts to demonstrate the extent to which history textbooks and archaeological research correspond. In a long-term perspective, the textbooks form a developmental chain in which the gradual revision of historical culture is made manifest.

    As presented in the textbooks, prehistoric history expresses a historical culture valid in the context of a particular era. The concept of cultural memory, a memory that extends so far back in history that it can only be mediated by someone with expert knowledge (e.g. teachers, journalists or scholars), is applied in order to observe changes in its description. Cultural memory reveals how some stories constantly recur, while others are neglected or forgotten.

    The textbooks have been compared to standard archaeological works and their development and revisions have been examined from dual perspectives - "story" as cultural memory and gender. The present thesis reveals that most of the stories have been remembered and repeated for more than a century, though interpretations sometimes change along with changes in society and progress in research. A gender perspective elucidates the chores and activities ascribed to prehistoric men and women, respectively, and the changes they have undergone. Although archaeological findings have been influenced by gender research, this study indicates that society itself has had the greatest impact on the treatment of gender in the textbooks. Perceptions of "male" and "female" have changed and women have been become visible after previously being as good as ignored.

    Both history textbooks and archaeological research are clearly affected by general trends in society and the textbooks under investigation have evolved from focusing on nationalistic aspects and the predominance of men to assigning equal value to people of all cultures and to the sexes.

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  • 2.
    Almqvist Nielsen, Lena
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Political, Historical, Religious and Cultural Studies (from 2013). University West, Sweden.
    Prehistoric history in Swedish primary school education: pupils' expression of empathy after visiting a cultural heritage site2023In: Education 3-13, ISSN 0300-4279, E-ISSN 1475-7575Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study explores the concept of historical empathy in the context of field trips for young pupils to a prehistoric heritage site in Sweden. The example discussed is a field trip to Vitlycke, a heritage and rock carving site with an associated reconstructed Bronze Age farm, where pupils had the opportunity to experience prehistory with all their senses. The study is based on the idea that historical empathy is a process that involves both cognitive and affective dimensions and that both dimensions are important for progress. The pupils were interviewed after the trip and their responses are related to the concepts of perspective recognition and care. The study shows how the cognitive and affective dimensions were interwoven in the pupils' reasoning and how the field trip contributed to an emotional and personal connection necessary for the development of historical empathy. This engagement led to a broadening and deepening of the pupils' cognitive understanding of Bronze Age life and living conditions, while the cognitive understanding of the historical context contributed to a framework in which they could use their imagination. The results also show the importance of giving pupils time to follow up on their experiences after visiting a heritage site.

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  • 3.
    Almqvist Nielsen, Lena
    University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division for Educational Science and Languages. Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Political, Historical, Religious and Cultural Studies (from 2013), Karlstad (SWE).
    Prehistoric history in Swedish primary school education: pupils' expression of empathy after visiting a cultural heritage site2023In: Education 3-13, ISSN 0300-4279, p. 1-15Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study explores the concept of historical empathy in the context of field trips for young pupils to a prehistoric heritage site in Sweden. The example discussed is a field trip to Vitlycke, a heritage and rock carving site with an associated reconstructed Bronze Age farm, where pupils had the opportunity to experience prehistory with all their senses.

    The study is based on the idea that historical empathy is a process that involves both cognitive and affective dimensions and that both dimensions are important for progress. The pupils were interviewed after the trip and their responses are related to the concepts of perspective recognition and care. The study shows how the cognitive and affective dimensions were interwoven in the pupils’ reasoning and how the field trip contributed to an emotional and personal connection necessary for the development of historical empathy. This engagement led to a broadening and deepening of the pupils’ cognitive understanding of Bronze Age life and living conditions, while the cognitive understanding of the historical context contributed to a framework in which they could use their imagination. The results also show the importance of giving pupils time to follow up on theirexperiences after visiting a heritage site.

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  • 4.
    Almqvist Nielsen, Lena
    University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division for Educational Science and Languages.
    Prehistoric history in Swedish primary school education: pupils’ expression of empathy after visiting a cultural heritage site2023Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 5.
    Almqvist Nielsen, Lena
    University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division for Educational Science and Languages.
    Prehistory in School textbooks in the 20th Century: from Homogeneity to Inclusivity and Diversity2023In: ECER 2023: Abstracts, European Educational Research Association, EERA , 2023, European Educational Research Association, EERA , 2023, p. 1-2Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    With this presentation I would like to contribute to the understanding of the way prehistory has been taught in textbooks over a period of just over a hundred years, and how both society and archaeological research have contributed to changing the way prehistoric people are represented in the textbooks.

    Scandinavian prehistory has so far received little attention in history didactics. In Swedish schools, prehistory is taught in the lower grades according to the traditional periodisation: Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Viking Age. The aim of this paper is to give an overview of Scandinavian prehistory as it is presented in history textbooks of the 20th and early 21st centuries, and to trace its development and revision. The study highlights archaeology and gender studies in relation to the subject of history and connects textbooks with historical culture, prehistory and gender.

    Textbooks are closely linked to historical culture because they are an imprint of their contemporaries (Rüsen 2004). Our knowledge of the prehistoric period is therefore partly time-bound because it is shaped by the theories currently in force, and in this way our image of prehistory becomes a reflection of our own time (Baudou, 2004). As presented in these books, prehistory is seen as an expression of a historical culture valid in a particular era. The study shows how historical cultural change becomes visible through two categories that run through the entire period under study: Cultural memory and gender. 

    Cultural memory: The German Egyptologist Jan Assmann has addressed the question of how memory can be linked to a period as far back in time as prehistory, and how the past is recalled in social memory. Since it is a historical period very distant from our own, we cannot share these memories through interaction, but need specialists, such as teachers, to help us (Assmann, J, 2010). Aleida Assman sees our memory as highly selective and when it comes to cultural memory, forgetting thus becomes part of social normality. In a society, new information needs to be processed and new ideas emerge to help us deal with the present and the future, while at the same time, society faces new challenges (Assmann, A, 2010). Memory can thus be seen as a reconstruction of the past created in the present (Selling, 2004). In this study, the concept of cultural memory serves as a tool to explain how some stories have remained in the textbooks during the long period under study, and which ones have changed or are no longer included for various reasons.

    Gender: According to Yvonne Hirdman, the concept of gender has been used in anthropology as a descriptive concept to explain the different relationships between the sexes. The system consists of two principles. One is the taboo of separation, which states that the feminine and the masculine must not be mixed. This expression is found, among other things, in the division of labour between men and women, in the idea of what is feminine or masculine, but also in places and characteristics. The second principle is hierarchy: the man is the norm. Men are put on an equal footing with human beings and stand for what is normal and universal. Through this ordering structure, we are helped to orient ourselves in the world according to places, tasks and types (Hirdman, 2004). Gender systems change over time. In every era, there are invisible contracts between men and women that are expressed in ideas about what constitutes the relationship between them (Hirdman, 2004). This study thus describes the process by which the gender system changes and develops.

    Method

    The changes in the historical culture are explained by cultural memory and Aleida Assmann's model of remembering and forgetting. Cultural memory thus provides both a theoretical and a methodological framework for this study. The long-term perspective makes it possible to see which stories about prehistory are actively preserved as canon in our memory and which stories have been discarded by new research findings and have thus fallen into active oblivion. The textbook texts were seen in the context of archaeological research reflecting the values of society (Olsen 2003). Nordic archaeology was established as a science around the turn of the 1900s, and as this period marks the beginning of the archaeological academy, this is a natural boundary for a period division (Baudou 2004). The results are also related to curricula, as they also reflect changes in society. The texts were compared with popular archaeological works written by established archaeologists who pointed to research that could be considered representative at the time the books were published, and the periodisation of the study was based on these works: Period 1 1903- 1943 The Nation and the Invisible Woman Period 2 1944- 1968. The post-war period - women are added Period 3 1969- 1987 New social ideas and a settlement with traditional gender roles Period 4 1988- 2010 Towards individuality and equality

    Expected Outcomes

    The result shows a historical cultural change in which the representation of people in the books evolves from homogeneity to inclusivity and diversity. It becomes clear how the contemporary social climate and government policies complement the archaeological research and provide a more egalitarian picture of the prehistoric period, that the textbook authors have taken note of. This is in line with the view of how historical culture changes and is influenced by society and how textbooks are part of this history-didactic chain. Aleida Assmann's description of how the canon of cultural memory is not replaced but can change as society changes is exemplified in this study, as several stories about Nordic prehistory recur in the 20th and early 21st centuries, but at the same time the way the stories are presented changes significantly as guidelines and the social climate change. Stories about prehistoric people evolve from stories characterised by homogeneity to stories that clearly advocate inclusion. The first accounts at the beginning of the 20th century seem to consist only of middle-aged men, but gradually women, children and eventually older people are included. The stories about prehistory have a clear anchorage in the contemporary social climate and show a move towards more diversity in their representation. However, it is not always archaeological research that forms the basis for this picture; the interpretations of textbook authors also have a major influence on these representations.

    References 

    Assmann, A. (2010). Canon and Archive. A Companion to Cultural Memory Studies. Astrid Erll, Ansgar Nunning Assmann, J. (2010) Communicative and Cultural Memory. A Companion to Cultural Memory Studies. Astrid Erll, Ansgar Nunning Baudou, E. (2004). Den nordiska arkeologin - historia och tolkningar. Stockholm: Kungl. Vitterhets historie och antikvitets akademien Hirdman, Y. (2004). Genussystemet-reflexioner kring kvinnors sociala underordning. I genushistoria-en historiografisk exposé. Studentlitteratur, Lund. Olsen, Bjørnar (2003). Från ting till text: teoretiska perspektiv i arkeologisk forskning. Lund: Studentlitteratur Rüsen, J. (2004). Berättande och förnuft: historieteoretiska texter. Göteborg: Daidalos Selling, J. (2004). Ur det förflutnas skuggor: Historiediskurs och nationalism i Tyskland 1990-2000.

  • 6.
    Almqvist Nielsen, Lena
    University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division for Educational Science and Languages.
    Textbooks And Experimental Archaeology: The Transformation Of Specialist Knowledge About Prehistoryto Educational Knowledge For Primary School Children2022In: Histroies of Eduvational Technologies: Cultural and Social Dimensions of Pedagogical Objects: Book of Abstract / [ed] Simonetta Polenghi & Anna Debè, Pensa Multimedia; Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore , 2022, p. 306-307Conference paper (Refereed)
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  • 7.
    Almqvist Nielsen, Lena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    The School as a Museum: Using Contemporary Archaeology to Understand Past School Environments2014In: Engaging with Educational Space: Visualizing Spaces of Teaching and Learning / [ed] Catherine Burke, Ian Grosvenor & Björn Norlin, Umeå: Institutionen för idé- och samhällsstudier , 2014, p. 140-147Chapter in book (Other academic)
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