This post was originally published on ActiveHistory.ca
Last week marked the twentieth anniversary of Jack Granatstein’s provocative polemic Who Killed Canadian History, a book that laments the perceived steep decline in Canadians’ knowledge of our past.
It is rare for any book to have such staying power. Earlier this month, for example, the book was drawn upon extensively in an op-ed column for my local paper, The London Free Press. In the column, history teacher Michael Zwaagstra warns about the dangers of historical thinking and how the growing influence of this inquiry-based pedagogy has eroded the teaching of historical content.
Granatstein’s book and Zwaagstra’s op-ed column are polarizing. They force people to take sides in a debate that has mostly been unproductive. Either you are in favour of a strong chronological narrative about Canada or you focus on so-called marginal topics and – according to Zwaagstra – the development of historical thinking skills.
The binary is false.Continue reading “What’s really killing Canadian History?”