Ignored Histories: The Politics of History Education and Indigenous-Settler Relations in Australia and Kanaky/New Caledonia
- About the Book
How is colonial history taught in schools? And how do education systems impact power relations between Indigenous people and settlers? This book provides a unique contribution to international discussions about knowledge production and the teaching of colonial history in schools with a comparative analysis of two neighboring settler-colonial societies of the South Pacific. Angélique Stastny argues that school systems in Australia and Kanaky/New Caledonia continue to enact British/Australian and French colonialism, respectively, by leveraging historical narratives that fail to comprehend and willfully ignore the mechanisms and contemporaneity of settler colonialism. Settler regimes of ignorance are sustaining the political status quo of settler-colonial power. Stastny’s work examines this weaponization of ignorance in systems so often focused on the production of knowledge to deepen our understanding of how and why settler-colonial agendas operate in public primary and secondary schools.
Ignored Histories takes the reader through the evolution of policy directives for history curricula, historiography and the narratives produced and disseminated in textbooks, and the author’s own ethnography on teachers’ actual practices and experiences. As the story unfolds, it traces the recounts of colonial wars and massacres in textbooks; presents modern accounts of the continuing marginalization—and outright exclusion—of Indigenous historians, practitioners, and knowledge from both curriculum development and pedagogy; problematizes students’ disengagement from learning about their own histories; and brings to light lingering effects of white supremacy and ways to counter them.
Some history teachers, on an individual level, engage in insurgent educational strategies in an attempt to shift power relations between Indigenous people and settlers. From the interviews Stastny conducted, we learn that some of these teachers were fired; others successfully developed methods to destabilize and rethink institutional practices and effect change in the classroom. Ultimately, Stastny argues for a system-wide transformation that decolonizes history curricula and the teaching of history by prioritizing indigenous resurgence, understandings, and knowledge; acknowledging and addressing the difficult truths of the past; and ethically shaping the stories of today.
- About the Author(s)
Angélique Stastny, AuthorAngélique Stastny is an independent researcher whose work focuses on (anti)colonialism and decolonization in the Pacific, Indigenous politics, racism, and critical whiteness.