Unique Transnational History Textbook for University Students from the Whole Europe Is Being Written at CU FA

A team of historians from the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, has joined an international project TEH21: Teaching European History in the 21st Century and began their work on transnational history textbook. It will present an overview of the most important events of European history from the perspective of Czech and foreign authors.

The publication will focus on the principal issues and phenomena that formed European society and determined the modern period, 20th century, and contemporary European history. It aims to connect different views on history, integrate various frameworks in the historical interpretation, and ensure a better balance of European history teaching.

The transnational approach is attractive to students because it introduces diversity into the historical interpretation. It connects themes from political, cultural, and economic history and different perspectives from ‘macro’ to ‘micro’ so that the great historical processes can be followed along with the fates of their partakers,” the coordinator, dr. Jaroslav Ira from the Institute of World History at CU FA, introduces the project.

The multiperspective approach is, therefore, the essential feat of the project. Based on the division of the individual chapters, the authors of the textbook compiled international author collectives from various European universities. According to dr. Ira, this constitution of the team brings idiosyncratic opinions into the text which are based on their specializations.

The researchers plan to include into the project also a file of digitalized sources that will be available online. Each chapter of the textbook will refer to several illustrative sources – historical maps, images, or citations from the documents of the period, which will serve as materials for discussion during seminars. The projects will also hold videoconferences that will serve as an abstract or introduction to each chapter.

The concept of the textbook and further materials are being tested in three intensive study programmes where the selected chapters are evaluated by students from the joined universities in Germany, Spain, Great Britain, France, Hungary, Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. Based on their readings of the manuscripts, the students will discuss it directly with the authors of the textbook. “At the end, ten students will write a brief reflection of our work where we should learn what is missing in the individual chapters and whether the structure suits and if they wish to further discuss the topics,” dr. Ira explains.

It is dr. Jaroslav Ira who coordinates the project at Charles University in cooperation with dr. Jan Koura from the Institute of World History and prof. Markéta Křížová from the Centro for Ibero-American Studies. Also, other members of the Institute of World History have joined the project as authors – dr, Jiří Janáš, dr. Ondřej Daniel, dr. Tomáš Masař, dr. Mikuláš Pešta, and dr. Ondřej Vojtěchovský – and some historians from other departments and institutions: doc. Jakub Rákosík from the Institute of Economic and Social History, and dr. Jan Zdichynec from the Institute of Czech History.

According to dr. Ira, it is necessary during the teaching to learn to be looking at the European history from the national, European, and global perspective and take into account also the perspective of the given place and human everyday life.