Beyond the national: transnational history in Australian schools 1978-2007

Reinhard Kuehnel

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The aim of this thesis is to identify the influences affecting the construction of transnational histories in Western Australian and New South Wales secondary schools between 1978 and 2007. By focusing on how transnational histories are constructed in Australian school syllabi this study contributes a new perspective to the existing research on school history, which, over the last few decades, has focused on the representation of national histories in schools and pedagogical reforms in history education. At the core of this thesis is a case study comparing two Australian states with different education policies in general and different approaches to history education in particular. It investigates to what extent these different local authorities have responded to broader international and global notions of transnational history in schools. Overall, this study describes how state and national forces that impact on secondary school history and the content of history syllabi, interact with transnational ideas and concepts. For that purpose it uses the term transnational in two ways. First, the study defines all non-Australian history as transnational history. Second, it introduces the theoretical concept of a transnational cultural power impacting on cultural practices such as the teaching of history. It follows that this study examines interactions between the transnational history in syllabi and the transnational influences on syllabus content. At the beginning of the thesis, secondary school history is not only contextualised with Australia’s socio-political and economic developments but also with national education policies. Based on these contexts, the subsequent investigation of the evolution of history teaching moves towards a focus on transnational cultural influences as it discusses how pedagogic innovations from overseas have impacted on and been adopted in Australian reforms to history teaching.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2012


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