One History, More Stories - A Supplement to Textbooks with a Chronicle of Publication Cover Image

Jedna povijest, više historija - dodatak udžbenicima s kronikom objavljivanja
One History, More Stories - A Supplement to Textbooks with a Chronicle of Publication

Author(s): Tvrtko Jakovina, Magdalena Najbar-Agičić, Snježana Koren, Nikša Stančić, Authors Miscellaneous
Contributor(s): Vesna Teršelič (Editor), Maja Dubljević (Editor)
Subject(s): Politics, Education, Media studies, Political history, Recent History (1900 till today), School education, State/Government and Education, Transformation Period (1990 - 2010), Present Times (2010 - today), Politics and Identity
Published by: Documenta - Centar za suočavanje s prošlošću
Keywords: Croatia; history; education; recent history; politics; textbook supplement; source material; Serbian language; identity politics; media; "separat";
Summary/Abstract: The Supplement to Textbooks of Current Croatian History is a handbook for history lectures, which was ordered by the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education, and Sports after the five-year moratorium on teaching current history in the Podunavlje region expired in the 2002/2003 school year. This easternmost region of Croatia remained under the control of local Serbs after the end of the 1991-1995 conflict, and was returned to Croatian sovereignty in 1998 after a transitory period under UN administration and the signing of an agreement between the Croatian government and the local Serb population. Part of the agreement included the decision that instruction in Podunavlje for Croat and Serb children would take place in separate classrooms, and that a five-year moratorium on teaching contemporary Croatian history in classes taught in the Serbian language would be imposed. At the end of 2002, the Ministry, headed by Minister Vladimir Strugar, in cooperation with the representatives of the Serb community and several history teachers, decided to form the „Commission for developing proposals regarding the teaching of history of the former Yugoslavia since 1989 in the schools of the Croatian Podunavlje,“ as well as produce a handbook which would cover the period of contemporary Croatian history after 1989. It was concluded that the handbook needed to function as an appendix for existing textbooks, and that it would serve as the first step in eliminating the moratorium and as a temporary solution until new textbooks could be chosen that would be translated into the Serbian language and script. After failing to find a publishing company to produce the handbook during 2003, work continued in the fall of 2004, under Minister Dragan Primorac. The Commission chose Tvrtko Jakovina and Snježana Koren from the Department of History at the Philosophy Faculty, University of Zagreb, as well as Magdalena Najbar-Agičić, the author and editor of a number of elementary and high school history textbooks, to complete the handbook. The authors finished the handbook in April 2005. In the meantime, the Commission decided that the text would not only serve the students in Podunavlje, but other students across all of Croatia as additional material for studying contemporary history. Once the work was completed, the manuscript was given to reviewers who needed to evaluate the quality of the methodology as well as the historical content of the material. However, before the reviews — some of which were subsequently shown to be very positive while others were extremely negative — reached the authors of the handbook, the content of the negative reviews appeared in the media and sparked a public debate that lasted for several months. The actual text of the Supplement remained, for the most part, inaccessible to the public, and the content of the Supplement, other than what was posted on the internet site of the Croatian Information Center without the authors’ knowledge or permission, was available only to those interested individuals who showed initiative and directly contacted the authors to see the material. Only a few of the journalists who were writing about this issue at the time actually did this. The situation which ensued was symptomatic for the mentioned time period in Croatia. The issue was overtly politicized, especially because this all occurred within the context of the tenth anniversary of the military-police action „Operation Storm.“ The authors were subjected to newspaper articles in which the Supplement was often described in an explicitly sensationalistic manner. Moreover, the authors were most often called out for allegedly relativizing wartime events, because for some media, politicians, and veterans’ organizations, the multi-perspective approach to teaching about the conflict developed in the Supplement was considered to be „a distortion of the historical truth about the Serbian aggression“ and „an attempt to equalize guilt for the war.“ A number of the reviewers recruited by the Ministry were also involved in this campaign against the authors. Already in the actual process of reviewing the material it was clear that some of the reviewers did not hesitate to stray outside of academic boundaries or resort to using primarily political disqualifications in their negative evaluations. In the course of the polemics raised over this issue, it also became evident that a number of the participants involved in the debate were not ready for thoroughly coming to terms with the past, nor did they support a systematic and academically based investigation of the recent historical events in Croatia. Despite the fact that in 2003 the Croatian Parliament approved the „Textbook Standard“ in which a number of conditions, formulated as „ethic requirements,“ needed to be met by textbooks in order to achieve certain universal values (which include raising students in a spirit of peace, tolerance, and democracy, and teaching them to respect racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious, differences, etc.), the debate over the Supplement revealed various and mutually exclusive concepts about the purpose and goals of history education, especially because of its potential role in shaping a student’s identity. Along with the fact that the universal values mentioned above are consistent with the educational policies of the European Union, there exist serious and deep-seated reasons in the past and present of this region why these values need to become an integral part of Croatian educational policies and practice. A second, specific framework of values that needs to be met by textbooks, according to the „Textbook Standard,“ is that Croatian textbooks must „nurture Croatian national identity“ and „encourage patriotic feelings towards the Republic of Croatia as a community of equal citizens, regardless of ethnicity or religious affiliation.“ The authors of the handbook unquestionably expressed a tendency to include elements from the first group of „ethic values“ mentioned in the „Textbook Standard,“ as well as to apply new methodologies in teaching history in which the students are transformed from passive recipients of information into active participants who draw their own conclusions. These goals in contemporary methodologies can be achieved by applying, among other strategies, a multi-perspective approach, which is a precondition for history education free of ideology. Ultimately, the debate influenced the Ministry of Science, Education, and Sports’ decision to not publish the Supplement. We believe that our decision to place the Supplement to Textbooks of Current Croatian History in our publishing program follows our goals and activities tied to encouraging the public to come to terms with the past and objectivizing recent Croatian history.

  • E-ISBN-13: 978-953-95433-1-8
  • Print-ISBN-13: 978-953-95433-1-8
  • Page Count: 144
  • Publication Year: 2007
  • Language: English, Croatian
„Dodatak udžbenicima za najnoviju povijest“

„Dodatak udžbenicima za najnoviju povijest“
(„Dodatak udžbenicima za najnoviju povijest“)

Preslike novinskih tekstova

Preslike novinskih tekstova
(Copies of Newspaper Articles)

„Dodatak za najnoviju povijest" u medijima ili, kako čitati sekundarne izvore u 21. stoljeću?

„Dodatak za najnoviju povijest" u medijima ili, kako čitati sekundarne izvore u 21. stoljeću?
(„Dodatak za najnoviju povijest" In the Media or, How to Read Secondary Sources in the 21st Century?)

Čitanje s predumišljajem

Čitanje s predumišljajem
(Premeditated Reading)

Priča o dodatku ili kako poučavati suvremenu hrvatsku povijest?

Priča o dodatku ili kako poučavati suvremenu hrvatsku povijest?
(The Story of the Supplement or How to Teach Contemporary Croatian History?)

Dvije godine poslije

Dvije godine poslije
(Two Years Later)

O povjesničarima, nakladnicima i politici: Prilog povijesti „Dodatka uz udžbenik najnovije povijesti' (tzv. separata)

O povjesničarima, nakladnicima i politici: Prilog povijesti „Dodatka uz udžbenik najnovije povijesti' (tzv. separata)
(About Historians, Publishers and Politics: A Contribution to the History of the „Dodatka uz udžbenik najnovije povijesti" (so-called "separat"))

Prilozi

Prilozi
(Attachments)

Summary

Summary
(Summary)