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ERIC Number: EJ765187
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Feb
Pages: 25
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
Eastern Europe in Western Civilization Textbooks: The Example of Poland
Kulczycki, John J.
History Teacher, v38 n2 p153-177 Feb 2005
Over a decade ago the newsletter of the American Historical Association "Perspectives" carried a long lead article entitled "Teaching 'Eastern Europe' without the Iron Curtain." Referring to the challenge posed by the revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe to the teaching of European history, the author, Larry Wolff, saw it as "an opportunity to think critically about the ways in which the Cold War has shaped the way we teach the history of Eastern Europe." He argued that the very notion of Eastern Europe was historically dubious, invented in the age of the Enlightenment "as a politically charged, cultural construction." The Cold War and the Iron Curtain gave this division of Europe "an air of geopolitical inevitability, encouraging historians to interpret earlier periods in terms of the same distinction between Western and Eastern Europe." A year after the publication of Wolff's article in "Perspectives" and four and a half years after the dramatic fall of communism in Poland, a paper surveying the treatment of Poland in historical texts, presented at the American Historical Association's annual meeting in January 1994, still found numerous omissions and distortions. With eight countries of Eastern Europe now in the European Union, and five years after three of them joined NATO, what do recently published Western Civilization textbooks say about Eastern Europe? Using modern Polish history (the Enlightenment to the present) as a test case, this article seeks to answer that question by surveying six representative textbooks. (Contains 159 notes.)
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840-1601. Tel: 562-985-2573; Fax: 562-985-5431; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Europe; Poland