Historical Consciousness: Conceptualizations and Educational Applications
Western historians and philosophers of history have increasingly noted the changing relationship of people to the past and the emergence of a different historical consciousness. Studies of historical consciousness reveal the ubiquity of the past in contemporary culture and society. More than simply helping us to understand how people connect to history or how well they know it, such research also reveals history as fundamental to the way people perceive themselves. Historical consciousness is both intuitive and learned. The nexus between the past and the discipline of history raises several critical educational questions, such as: How can we operationalize historical consciousness? Can it be taught and in what ways? How does it function alongside historical thinking and reasoning in classroom engagement? This chapter canvasses and historicizes multiple definitions of historical consciousness as it relates to history education and explores some classroom applications.