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Barton, Keith C. "History, Humanistic Education, and Participatory Democracy." In To the Past: History Education, Public Memory, and Citizenship in Canada, edited by Ruth W. Sandwell, 50-69. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006.


In this chapter, Keith Barton begins by arguing that if we are not clear in our purposes for teaching history, decisions about the content and process of history education will be made for convenience rather than for a directed goal. Following his own advice, he explicitly emphasizes that history education should contribute toward citizenship and emphasize plurality, participation, and deliberation. He shows that this goal can be achieved by structuring history education on a humanist framework that incorporates reasoned judgement, an expanded view of humanity, and opportunity for public deliberation. By giving students the opportunity to reach conclusions by examining a variety of viewpoints found in historical evidence, history education can create the conditions for responding to and accepting difference in society, which, as Barton emphasizes, is the goal of humanist education.

Samantha Cutrara