Learning citizenship from the past: textbook nationalism, global context, and social change

L. Hein, M. Selden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This introduction to the special issues frames the essays that follow in both international and domestic politcal contexts. Treating textbooks as a key form of nationalist narrative, we analyze textbooks in five nations and controversies surrounding them for insights into ongoing battles over nation and citizenship. We argue, first, that changes in the global context, notably the end of the cold war, put new pressures on national narratives. International controversy erupts when those narratives do not mesh well with the newly envisioned future. Secondly, domestic social change also forces reevaluation of establishes stories of the national past because formerly subordinated groups demand inclusion of their perspectives, transforming the overall story in crucial ways. Sometimes, as when the 'military comfort women' are metioned in Japanese textbooks, those two forces combine to form a profound challenge to older versions of the Japanese national story, provoking further controversy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-15
Number of pages13
JournalBulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development


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