Queensland's History curriculum: negotiating spaces and tensions, 1970-2000


History education is a contentious matter due to its civic and nation-building capabilities. As an explicit statement of intent, History curricula therefore have the power to shape the nation and its identity. Yet these curricula have within them spaces of negotiation and tension as they aim to develop students' historical knowledge and skills. However, the negotiation of these tensions is guided by various political priorities, which demonstrate attempts to create a cohesive grand narrative of Australian history to define the nation's identity. In the process of negotiating History curricula's spaces and tensions, very little attention has previously been given to state history curricula, with Queensland particularly neglected. This thesis historicises Queensland History curricula between 1970 and 2000 and analyses it using a framework of Michael W. Apple's Official Knowledge. Drawing upon History curricula and key policy documents, it identifies significant sources of tension and analyses how these have been dealt with in successive curricula. This thesis argues that the History curriculum's 'unresolvable' nature means that negotiations about its structure and content will remain ongoing. Whilst successive History curricula since the 1970s have made attempts to balance points of tension surrounding histories about Australia and Asia, this has often perpetuated a Eurocentric and celebratory grand narrative. The pervasive power of this grand narrative to define Australian identity has been maintained through a process of 'Mentioning' the histories of minority groups. These rival histories have been included in each curricula's grand narrative, but often framed as 'Other' and insubstantial. This thesis points to the importance of making visible, rather than hidden, the negotiations within History curricula

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