The epistemic struggle with the unwritten past


This research project deals with the decolonization of history education. The focus is on Hawaiian teachers and their approach to (Ancient) Hawaiian History.


Duration: 2023-2025


Visiting Scholarschip at University of Hawai'i at Mānoa/College of Education (Feb.-July 2023)


IRB Approval UH Mānoa System, Protocol Nr. 2023-00159 vom 23.3.2023


 Involved Research Centers and Heritage Sites Link

The aim of this history education research project is to question the way in which the ‘oiwi wale times are dealt with with regard to the historical sources and representations of the past used in history lessons in Hawai'i.

Within the framework of the empirical analysis of textbooks, teaching materials and curricula, a content analysis will clarify which domain-specific requirements are imposed on the students, which historical imageries are contained in them and how the unwritten past is dealt with in these documents. The research approach used for this can be described as qualitative content analysis, for which both inductive and deductive categories are used.  

In order to link the insights from the materials analyzed more closely to the everyday practice of schools, a triangulation will be carried out in which the findings from the qualitative content analysis will be confronted with the findings from the qualitative interviews of history teachers at private schools and Hawaiian Charter Schools. By looking twice at the same subject of research, a denser and more differentiated result is to be obtained.     

A particular challenge are the different involved epistemologies which are part of the subject of research. It is therefore expected that the following areas will provoke controversial moments in dealing with history: (a) conceptual ideas of teachers about access to the past, history and history teaching; (b) mo' olelo; (c) historical (pop)cultural concepts; (d) Western theories of history.  


Strategies are being researched to implement a decolonized history education in the Hawaiian context. The case of Hawai'i, however, can also serve other contexts in which Western and Native ideas about the past clash.


German-speaking Conference "Dekolonisierung - geschichtsdidaktische Perspektiven" [Decolonization - perspectives of history education]

1.-2.2.2024, University of Salzburg, Department of History

Program of the conference_Decolonication[Salzburg_Austria 2024]
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