Conference: Understanding and overcoming conflict. Bonn international conference on history teaching and peacebuilding

This symbolically represents an holistic approach to peacebuilding, 22 June 2008, CC BY-SA 4.0,


Veranstalter: Prof. Dr. Peter Geiss/Prof. Dr. Michael Rohrschneider, Department of History Didactics and Department for Early Modern History and Rhenish Regional History in cooperation with Center for Historical Peace Studies, Bonn University

Veranstaltungsort: Universitätsforum Bonn, Heussallee 18-24, 53113 Bonn
Datum: 18.03.2020 – 21.03.2020


Since the Interwar Period, history teaching is considered simultaneously an important source of international conflict and a means of overcoming it. Textbooks and history lessons undoubtedly play a vital role in the creation of mental maps and stereotypes. Other nations are constructed as enemies, rivals, partners, or even friends. This continues to be important even in the era of digital mass communication. Historical narratives transmitted in the authoritative context of educational systems possess a high level of political power – and their influence extends to millions of students without any realistic chance of avoiding it. It is therefore highly plausible that their perception of and their attitude towards other nations or groups will be affected in some way by the “lessons” learned in history classes, thus influencing their participation in processes of international decision-making (for the majority of them as voters, few of them as decision-makers). In other words: History teaching matters for issues of conflict and peacebuilding.
By combining the specific approaches and competences of peace research and history didactics in an international conference we want to shed some light on some of today’s most relevant questions:
– How can we evaluate the impact of history teaching in conflicts and processes of peacebuilding compared to other factors?
– Is it possible to identify general patterns of narratives endorsing conflict or peacebuilding?
– What master narratives – and counter-narratives – can be identified in societies that try to overcome conflict?
– To what extent are the methodological features of history teaching linked to the epistemology of the historical discipline?
– How – and to what extent – are political authorities able to control history teaching?
– Is there any dialogue between neighbouring states (or between different groups within the same state) on controversial issues in history teaching?

Participants need to pay a conference fee of 20 Euro, which covers organisation as well as beverages during the conference, but not meals, travel and accommodation. Details regarding the payment of the conference fee will be send after registration.

Please register by sending an E-Mail to until 15 February 2020.


Wednesday, 18/03/2020
7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Evening welcome and registration
8:00 – 9:00 p.m. History teaching as a matter of war and peace? Introductory remarks
Peter Geiss, Bonn

Thursday, 19/03/2020
9:30 a.m. Opening
Grußworte: Volker Kronenberg, Landry Charrier, Carsten Burhop

Section I – (What) can we learn from history? Peacebuilding, historical research and lieux de mémoire
(Chair: Alheydis Plassmann)
10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
The peace of Westphalia (1648) as a model for the Middle East?
Michael Rohrschneider, Bonn
Entre “rapprochement“ et “réconciliation“: les enseignements de l’histoire franco-allemande au 20e siècle
Corine Defrance, Paris

11:30 – 11:45 a.m. Coffee break

1989 and the German unification from a Polish perspective
Miloš Řezník, Warsaw

12:30 – 2:00 p.m. Lunch Break

Section II – History teaching and textbooks in Central and Western Europe
(Chair: Florian Radvan)
2:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Ein Paradigma für die Versachlichung von Schulbuchdarstellungen? Scheitern und Erfolge der deutsch-französischen Schulbuchgespräche in 20. und 21. Jahrhundert
Rainer Bendick, Braunschweig
L’écriture de la guerre d’Algérie dans les manuels français de 1970 à nos jours; ou le processus de refroidissement d’une histoire encore vive
Benoît Falaize, Clergy-Pontoise

3:30 – 4:00 p.m. Coffee break

Was Austria the first victim? Nazism in Austrian history teaching
Christoph Kühberger, Salzburg
Comparison of international popular scientific journals of history
Dorothée Goetze, Bonn

Panel – Learning from history? Peacebuilding in the 21st century
6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
James Bindenagel (Bonn), Stephan Conermann (Bonn), Conrad Schetter (Bonn), Riem Spielhaus (Braunschweig/Göttingen), Susanne Popp (Augsburg)
Chair: Sandra Müller, Florian Helfer

Friday, 20/03/2020
Section III – History teaching and textbooks in Southeast and Eastern Europe
(Chair: Hans-Dieter Heumann)
9:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Textbooks and interethnic conflict in Southeast Europe after the last Balkan war
Snjezana Koren, Zagreb
The Second World War in Polish, Ukrainian, and Russian textbooks since 1991
Martin Aust, Bonn

11:00 – 11:30 a.m. Coffee break

Post-Soviet openness to the „West“ in the Russian school textbooks.
Tatiana Khripachenko, St. Petersburg

12:15 – 2:00 p.m. Lunch break

Section IV – History teaching and textbooks in Africa and Asia
(Chair: Daniel Schönbauer)
2:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
The restitution of objects in the context of post-colonial peacebuilding?
Wazi Apoh, Accra
The Herero-Nama-Genocide in German history textbooks
Florian Helfer, Bonn
Curating the Past. Memorialization in post-apartheid South Africa
Simon Ebert, Bonn

4:15 – 4:45 p.m. Coffee break

Perspective d’histoire publique en Asie de l’Est: les livres d’histoires, les musées, les (télé)films
Hisaki Kenmochi, Shizouka
Dual narratives approach to teaching history: A bottom up formula to peace education in Palestinian-Israeli context
Sami Adwan, Bethlehem

Saturday, 21/03/2020
Section V – Digital approaches in the context of peacebuilding and history teaching
(Chair: Dorothée Goetze)
9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
A web of peace? Digital dissemination of historical peacebuilding processes in Social Media
Jonas Bechtold, Bonn
History lessons on YouTube? Conflicts and national narratives in online explanatory and educational videos
Sandra Müller, Bonn

10:30 – 11:00 a.m. Coffee break

Digitized Peace. The potential of digital editions of peace treaties as a tool for historical learning
Lena Oetzel, Salzburg
Playing around with History. The Staging of International Conflicts in Digital Games, Intercultural Exchange among Players, and Lessons for Education
Nico Nolden, Hannover

12:30 – 1:15 p.m. Final discussion

3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Social programme: guided tour at Haus der Geschichte

Sandra Müller
Department of History Didactics, Bonn University