Fellow during the winter term 2019/20
Project: Revising Textbooks as a Road to Peace: Education and the Prestigious Universal Peace Congresses, 1889-1913
The First Universal Peace Congress (UPC) that took place in 1889 in Paris emphasised the importance of revising textbooks to remove misleading and false ideas about wars and urged the 'publication of pacific school books'. Although there was a total of thirty-three Peace Congresses, they have yet to be adequately addressed by scholars. The aim of this project is to investigate the attitudes towards peace education and in particular debates over the revision of history textbooks, within the context of the UPCs. The contribution of the study is twofold. Firstly, located in the field of 'peace history', it brings to the fore, the prestigious but under-researched UPCs as an integral part of the peace movement, showing how they in fact represent the origins of the modern global peace education movement. Historians have so far provided overviews of the peace movement in the inter-war period as well as in the early nineteenth century, but what is still missing is an investigation of the period before the First World War, and in particular an in-depth analysis of the archival documents related to the annual UPCs. Secondly, the study zooms in on the discussions over the role of history education that took place during these Congresses and explores their perceptions with regards to history textbook revisions as a road to peace. Taking an interdisciplinary perspective (education, history and politics) and through an analysis of primary sources such as official reports of the UPCs, reports of national peace societies, journals and pamphlets of the time, the study advances our understanding of the discourses that existed and the tensions between being 'patriotic' on the one hand and 'peaceful' on the other, at a time when the predominant 'culture of war' meant being both simultaneously seemed impossible.