Tina van der Vlies on decolonising the history curriculum

The online platform De Correspondent and the Belgian historian David Van Reybrouck invited Tina van der Vlies to cooperate on the first episode of a podcast series about Revolusi.

Van Reybrouck writes in his new book Revolusi about the history of Indonesia and the Dutch East Indies. An important question of the podcast series is: how do we need to remember the colonial past of the Netherlands? Van der Vlies discussed widespread collective memories in Dutch history textbooks and framing processes in this genre. Moreover, she reflected upon debates about history education in the Netherlands and beyond. While several countries witnessed a revival of national narratives in history education, the Black Lives Matter protests fuelled the debate about decolonising the history curriculum.

That is why Tina van der Vlies also wrote an article entitled ‘Decolonising the History Curriculum: Considering National Narratives from a Global Perspective’. The article is published on the website of EuroClio, the European Association of History Educators. Van der Vlies shows that ‘unique’ national histories in textbooks from former colonial empires often share remarkable similarities. She is convinced that a better understanding of national narratives’ underlying structures will challenge the traditional frames in which history is often taught and understood, and will help to genuinely decolonise the history curriculum.