Emotional, Moral, and Symbolic Imagery of Modern History Textbooks

Tsyrlina-Spady and Lovorn discuss the results of a comparative horizontal content analysis of six modern Russian history textbooks and introduce the problem of emotional and moral symbolism and emotives as tools used to shape students’ national identities and construct knowledge of their national history. A number of current trends in the content and design of Russian history textbooks are demonstrated, specially focusing on verbal and visual representations of political leaders, in particular Stalin and Putin. The authors explore the textbooks’ moral vocabulary and argue that power and patriotism are strongly prioritized. They conclude that each of the textbooks demonstrates a clear agenda to develop emotional connections through a lens of patriotic identity and national superiority, with no attempt to develop historical and critical thinking skills.