Colonialist “discoveries” in Finnish school textbooks
Nyckelord:HISTORY EDUCATION, COLONIALISM, TEXTBOOK RESEARCH
The article focuses on the descriptions of colonial events in Finnish history textbooks for comprehensive school (basic education). This includes the descriptions of “voyages of discovery” and the treatment of the indigenous people in America. The article analyses articulations in the textbooks and describes three discourses supporting the hegemonic idea that people in the “West” are superior to “others.” The first discourse shows that the images of explorers as heroes and colonized peoples as exotic objects still endure, even though some textbooks include stories written from the point of view of the oppressed people. The second discourse concerns justified violence as part of colonialism, while the third discourse focuses on the textbook lessons that are taught through the study of colonialism. It also portrays Western knowledge as the only relevant knowledge. These representations of colonialism do not necessarily teach students about its horrors as much as about colonial techniques. The article also discusses the role of textbooks regarding education about colonialism and proposes alternative starting points for the study of colonialism and its implications today.