A global history in a global world? Human rights in history education in the Global North and South

Olle Nolgård, Thomas Nygren, Felisa Tibbitts, Anamika Anamika, Denise Bentrovato, Paul Enright, Johan Wassermann, Oakleigh Welply


In this study, we analyze similarities and differences in 957 students’ perceptions of the history of human rights in six countries: England, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden and the United States of America. This is investigated through the lens of the intended, implemented and achieved curricula. Our aim is to better understand what historical events students perceive as central in the history of human rights in different countries and how this may relate to education about, through and for human rights across borders. While the findings indicate a global culture of human rights, we identify several challenges in the teaching and learning of universal human rights in history education. In some instances, notions of nationalism and exceptionalism in society and history culture pose great challenges to the teaching and learning of human rights. In others, a strong focus on the global world have complicated the identification of human rights issues in the local context. Our findings also highlight the neglect of certain historical narratives, most notably the history of indigenous and minority groups. These findings are significant to researchers, teachers and decision-makers interested in furthering human rights and international understanding through education.


comparative education; global citizenship; human rights education (HRE); history education

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