Cultural Wars and History Textbooks in Democratic Societies

Taylor and Macintyre examine the political character and contexts of history textbooks, taking in the colonialist/imperialist foundations of textbook design, more recent global attempts to use textbooks as agents of peace and reconciliation and yet more recent attempts to use textbooks as a source of justification for invasion and internal repression. Their chapter provides an overall summary and analysis of the development of history textbooks in democratic nations focusing on three culture wars case studies in Australia, the United States and the Russian Federation. The authors further explore the implications of digital technology for textbook design and dissemination. They conclude that in liberal democratic nations, the digitisation of textbook provision may reduce the traditional authority of the history textbook as the main source of historical interpretation in the school classroom.