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Porat, Dan A. “It’s Not Written Here, But This is What Happened: Students’ Cultural Comprehension of Textbook Narratives on the Israeli-Arab Conflict.” American Educational Research Journal 41(4) (2004): 963-96.


A group of Israeli high school students (h = 11) from two socially distinct schools read aloud a textbook account of a 1920 bloody encounter between Jews and Arabs. The study aimed at examining the relation between the textbook account and the students' formation of historical perceptions. Prior to reading the textbook excerpts, students wrote accounts of the event from their memory (the prenarrative). After being questioned about the prenarratives, the students read the textbook excerpts aloud and explained their understanding of the event. Twelve months later, they wrote another account of the event (the postnarrative). The study found that students "culturally comprehended" the textbook, or, in other words, that the nature of the students' recollection was strongly affected by the social memory of the group within which they lived.