CAHSS Faculty Articles

History, Memory, and Peace Education: History's Hardest Questions in the Classroom

Cheryl Lynn Duckworth, Nova Southeastern University


Many peace educators wish to be able to do more than foster enhanced communication or cultural skills, but further wish to interrupt macro-historical causes of violence. Peace education can be usefully advanced by drawing on the literature on what is often called historical or collective memory. An important area of interest in peace studies, scholars working in this area seek to understand the role of the “heavy hand of history” in conflict. This article explores the nexus between peace education and historical memory, filling a current gap in the literature by addressing the question of what classroom teachers might actually be able to do in their settings to interrupt transgenerational cycles of violent conflict. I explore two possible ways forward for implementing such an audacious goal in the classroom: oral histories and “futures visioning,” inspired by Elise Boulding's notion of the 200-year present.