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Levstik, Linda S. "What Makes the Past Worth Knowing." In Researching History Education: Theory, Method and Context, edited by Linda S. Levstik and Keith C. Barton, 228-39. New York: Routledge, 2008.


In this chapter, Linda Levstik reflects on the social and cultural contexts that brought her and Keith Barton to collaboratively engage in questions of historical significance and history learning. As part of a collection that aims to make apparent the process and product of history education research, this article discusses the social and theoretical debates about national history and what Levstik learnt from designing a research project that was intended to challenge the dominant ways of understanding students’ interpretation of history. This discussion informs her and Barton’s previously published article “’It wasn’t a Good Part of History’: National Identity and Ambiguity in Students’ Explanations of Historical Significance.” She also reflects on how her interest in significance took her outside the scope of her previous research to look at how pre- and in-service teachers construct historical significance that led to the article “Articulating the Silences: Teachers and Adolescents’ Conceptions of Historical Significance.”

Samantha Cutrara