Accepted paper:

Making histories: the enactment of historical knowledge in the classroom


Josefine Raasch (Ruhr University Bochum)

Paper short abstract:

This paper describes practices through which different types of historical knowledge were enacted in the classroom of a Berlin high school. Different actors not only enact different knowledges, they also need to coordinate the underlying different ontic-epistemic imaginaries.

Paper long abstract:

Based on six months of ethnographic fieldwork in a Berlin high school, this paper describes how two different types of historical knowledge were enacted in the classroom. The knowledge enacted in accordance with the History curriculum is identified as representational knowledge (Sørensen 2009), and is understood as being based on spatiotemporal particulars (Verran 2001). The enactment of another type of knowledge, communal knowledge (Sørensen 2009), is also identified and discussed. Also, instead of ordering historical reality solely around spatiotemporal particulars, as Berlin's History curriculum demands, the teenagers also ordered reality around moral and other particulars. As such, this paper demonstrates how teenagers' enactment of communal knowledge challenges the ontological basis of the historical knowledge enacted in the History curriculum. The paper illustrates how different types of historical knowledge co-exist in the classroom, overlapping and in tension with each other. It shows the impact of the co-existence of these types of knowledge on classroom activities, and identifies the ordering practices that structured and stabilized classroom situations when tension between the two types of knowledge occurred.

panel P007
'Grounding': when multiple ontologies meet material facts