Happy New Year!

As Australia faces a week of soaring temperatures, this post takes us to snow-bound Washington DC where the 2014 American Historical Association (AHA) meeting recently took place. It is a short entry, offering some links to material you might have time to explore before 2014 gets into top gear and which may be useful in the context of the forthcoming debates about Australia’s national curriculum sparked by Christopher Pyne’s announcement of a review to be conducted by Ken Wiltshire and Kevin Donnelly. Submissions can be made until 28 February 2014. See http://www.studentsfirst.gov.au/review-australian-curriculum

Kenneth Pomeranz, president of the AHA, spoke in his keynote address about how history teaching is responding to changing geography. He challenged the idea of nations as containers of histories by examining past and present global flows of peoples and commodities. He also argued that history conveys skills in how to frame problems arising in a globalised world.

Pomeranz’s article in the December 2013 edition of Perspectives in History is also worth reading. It reminds us of the importance of explaining what is distinctive about the discipline of history, and how making that distinction clear can help fortify its place in the curriculum. Pomeranz lists skills such as creating context, interpreting texts and understanding change.

On day three of the meeting there was a session sponsored by the Conference on Faith and History (CFH). The session may be of interest in view of Kevin Donnelly’s call for more religious education, and for no airbrushing of Christianity from Australia’s history. A post by John Fea, Professor of American History at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania has some links.

Welcome to 2014, which already looks like a year when history will again be at the fore of political discussion!

Francesca Beddie

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