When National Narratives Clash in Classrooms

Quelle: The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 19 | Issue 5 | Number 10 | Article ID 5553 | Mar 01, 2021
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus

When National Narratives Clash in Multinational University Classrooms:
A Pedagogical Perspective

Emilia S. Heo

While much scholarly attention has been devoted to analyzing governments’
attempts to determine ways of remembering or forgetting the past, little is known about how
the politics of remembrance affect the process of reconciliation. To what extent does conflict
remembrance actually influence the shaping of collective (national) identities? Does
remembering the painful past lead to reconciliation? If not, what does it do? This
article addresses these questions by reflecting on the author’s experience of teaching
multinational groups at her university in Japan, and discussing fraught issues relating to the
Asia-Pacific War (including the “comfort women”) with her classes. Drawing on class
observations and student essays from 2016 to 2019, she discusses the often conflicting
narratives and identities that students bring to the university classroom and the pedagogical
challenges involved in negotiating these. The paper illustrates how highly selective
narratives of the national past (learnt at school or absorbed from the media) affect collective
identity (the way we perceive the self versus the other), and discusses implications for East
Asian reconciliation and peace. ....

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