Alma Mater
ISSN 1026-955X
Vestnik Vysshey Shkoly (Higher School Herald)
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The Role of Teaching History in the Shaping of National Identity in the United States

A.V. Smagar

UDC 130.2-042.3:94(7/8)+373                                  



Anton V. Smagar, PhD student, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy of Language and Communication, e-mail:


The article is devoted to the structural and functional analysis of the role of school history education in the process of national self-identification of citizens in the United States. To achieve this goal, specific research tasks were performed in the article. First, the structural elements (subject, goal, object, means) of the educational process aimed at the reproduction of national identity in the United States through historical discipline are identified. Secondly, the American compulsory education system K-12 is briefly described, which acts as a subject in the process of constructing unified historical knowledge, as well as national identity among students. Thirdly, the place and content of national history as a school discipline in the K-12 system (in primary and secondary schools) among other compulsory disciplines of “social studies” (Social Studies) is determined. Fourthly, a model of three-level national self-identification of students has been formed, where the teaching of history plays a key role. The process of identification is considered here as one of the social functions of school history education. Fifth, the current trends and problems associated with the criticism of the nationally oriented history teaching curriculum and the emergence of new revisionist historical perspectives in American schools, aimed at viewing the past through the prism of historical injustice, are outlined.

Key words: historical education, K-12, national identity in the USA, national self-identification, “cultural wars” (Cultural Wars).