Nostalgia, memory and History teaching and learning
Firth, Barry William
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“… there is a twilight zone between history and memory; between the past as a generalized record which is open to relatively dispassionate inspection and the past as a remembered part of, or background to, one’s own life” (Hobsbawm, 1987:3). Nostalgic writing, as a cultural phenomenon, allows the writer to occupy the present whilst searching in the experienced past for a historical narrative. The writer seeks a specific narrative, one which connects the recorded past to his/her lived experience. This article explores the use of nostalgic writing in pre-service teachers as they attempt to define the “length of the twilight zone”. By allowing the pre-service teachers to engage in nostalgic writing the writer finds that through personal reflection they are able to experience its limitations and seek to remedy this myopia through the development of a historical gaze. Using Svetlana Boym’s (2001) concepts of restorative and reflective nostalgia the article shows how pre-service teachers are enabled to plumb the depths of their own twilight zones. In doing so they identify areas of anxiety which shape and mis-shape the lenses with which they view the recorded past.