Discussiedossier: uitdagingen voor de hedendaagse historische cultuur | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 134 Number 1
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



The concept of historical culture refers to the ways in which society deals with the past in the broadest sense. The concept enables an integrated study of the different, and sometimes conflicting practices that give meaning to the past. The aim of this thematic section is twofold: it aims to reflect on the value of the concept historical culture for analyzing contemporary society, and it discusses contemporary challenges in historical culture within three key areas of the historiographical praxis: the theory of history, public history and history didactics. These challenges include digitization and the plurality of (dis)information; multi-perspectivity; constructivism and the perceived relativity of historical truth. Herman Paul notices an increased interest in historical culture in the philosophy of history, and argues for more balance in the conceptual and empirical treatment of concepts such as ‘presentism’. Marijke Huisman reflects (self)critically on her role as an academic historian in a public history project on the queer bookstore Savannah Bay. She outlines the difficulties of safeguarding academic principles such as neutrality, contextualization and multi-perspectivity in the context of this project. Karel van Nieuwenhuyse and Tina van der Vlies discuss why increased diversity problematizes the question of what is worth teaching in schools. They show how processes of digitization have changed ‘traditional’ learning processes and ask whether pupils are sufficiently prepared to function in a society where “fake news” and alternative facts start to play increasingly important roles.


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