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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: What remains of History? Historical epistemology and historical understanding in Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence
Author(s): Smith, Joseph
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Keywords: History
Curriculum for Excellence
Social Studies
historical understanding
historical epistemology
Issue Date: 2016
Date Deposited: 2-Jun-2016
Citation: Smith J (2016) What remains of History? Historical epistemology and historical understanding in Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence. Curriculum Journal, 27 (4), pp. 500-517.
Abstract: This paper critically examines the framing of historical knowledge in the primary and 'broad general education' phases (ages 4-14) of Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence. The paper focuses on curriculum documentation, particularly the curriculum’s aims and ‘Experiences and Outcomes and evaluates these in light of recent research on children’s historical understanding. It is argued that the decision to frame historical understanding as 'People, Past Events and Societies' within the context of a 'social studies' curriculum area has been motivated by a misunderstanding of history's unique disciplinary identity. It is argued that history curricula must take account of the unique ontological and epistemological challenges posed by investigating the past and that by failing to do this, ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ offers children in Scotland a problematic representation of what it means to study the past.  The paper challenges the curriculum in both epistemic and pedagogical terms, before suggesting that a rigorous study of history as a discipline can make a valuable contribution to children’s personal and social development.
DOI Link: 10.1080/09585176.2016.1197138
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Curriculum Journal on 05 Jul 2016, available online:

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