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    Studies

      Simon, Attila

      Common Past, Historical Retorts !

        The disputes on the interpretation of Hungary and Slovakia’s common history have presented a dimension and stimulus of the disputes between the two countries in recent years. But the two peoples’ past has been relatively free of conflict: they evolved for a thousand years in the same state frameworks, they struggled for common goals, and their shared past – unlike the relationships of other neighbouring European peoples – is not lined with mass graves. This common past is interpreted most differently in the two national narratives, and this difference is best brought to the surface in connection with questions about Trianon. The present study follows the manner with which the interpretations of this common past separated from each other as well as the resulting consequences for the approach to history and writing history in the two countries.



          Kratochvíl, Viliam

          Ethnic Stereotypes in History Textbooks‘ “Us“ and “Them“ Constructions

            How are national or ethnic stereotypes formed in history textbooks? On what are they based and how do they contribute to the establishment of the “national self image” and the “image of the enemy” in the school environment? These are the central questions of the following study, whose author, Viliam Kratochvil, is a defining figure in history teaching in Slovakia. The author’s analysis leads us into the world of Slovakian history books after 1989, and dedicates special attention to those stereotypes, prejudices and biases which characterise certain Slovakian history textbooks today, especially with regard to the national or ethnic groups of the country, the Hungarians or the Gypsies. The author is aware of the danger that every history textbook author must look in the eye, namely the expectations of the national narrative, which divide the readers (students) into two groups: those who are ”one of our own” and those who are “not one of our own”.





              Workshop

                Jakab, György – Lator, László Jr.– Kratochvíl, Viliam – Vajda, Barnabás

                Cooperation Between Hungarian and Slovakian History Teachers

                  The cooperation between Hungarian and Slovakian history teachers in the framework of the teachers’ section of the Hungarian-Slovakian Historians Mixed Committee is built on the work of Our Central Europe Working Group (MKEM) teachers in minority and majority settings. MKEM was established as a civil initiative in 2000 and its coordination centre is in the Education Research and Development Institute. MKEM’s main goal is for history and social studies teachers in different countries in the region to get to know each others’ approach to history, particularities of national identity and regional approaches. Another important goal is to see that the viewpoints of teachers in both majority and minority settings be expressed when formulating the region’s common historical past. In this respect, the joint work does not mean pursuing unconditional agreement, a “shared” construction at any cost: beyond finding points in common, a basic result would be if diverging opinions and enlightening interpretations and analyses of the reasons for their divergence could be found side by side. The Working Group’s membership is made up of teachers from minority and majority settings in eight countries: Austria, Croatia, the former Yugoslavia (mainly Serbia), Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Ukraine. Their jointly expressed tasks are the following:

                  • to get to know and critique each others’ textbooks;
                  • to develop joint tools of teaching (multi-lingual teaching material modules, CD-ROMs);
                  • to prepare and run multicultural teacher training programmes;
                  • to build school contacts through teacher and student exchanges;
                  • to maintain regular contact (electronic mailing lists, conferences)

                  This paper first of all shows the situation and particular relationship system of the authors of joint Slovakian-Hungarian history textbooks. Afterwards, details follow from the jointly prepared history textbooks.



                    Kollai, István

                    A Comparison of Nationalist and Ethnocentric Mentality in the Slovakian-Hungarian Relationship

                      The differences of tensions and problems – which themselves are difficult to compare – arising from the historical past pose a serious obstacle to comparative research on Slovakian-Hungarian nationalism. This leads to the fruitless debate between Slovakians and Hungarians over the question “Who is the most nationalist?”. The Ideal solution would be to avoid the subjective and emotion-filled topic and bring the pure expansion of knowledge to the fore: a mutual expansion of connected knowledge. In addition to assessing the sorry situation, this study makes an attempt to correct it.



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