The Difficulty of Teaching Historical Landscape: Observations Starting From the Italian Situation

The Difficulty of Teaching Historical Landscape: Observations Starting From the Italian Situation

Antonio Pasquale Brusa
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 30
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1978-3.ch018
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Identity and anti-modernity seem the fundamental concepts consider the historical landscape in Italian schools. These concepts characterize the Italian educational systems that deal with landscape and territory. The task of teaching in this situation is that of the deconstruction of stereotypes and misconceptions. It is possible to set up a historical didactic, based on the insertion of historical landscapes in large space-time contexts, and overcome the micro-histories, which characterize most of the Italian didactic experiences. The definition of history as “science of the invisible” suggests a teaching based on a well-trained imagination, of which some examples are given.
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What Happens In Italy About Landscape Education?

The historical didactic approach prevailing in Italian schools is almost entirely due to the typical one of conservation / protection of the landscape and heritage. This is because the interest in this topic has entered schools through initiatives of Ministery of Research and Instruction (MIUR, 2003, 2004, 2012, 2014a, 2014b, 2016a, 2016b, 2019), to protect the landscape, or of the FAI (Italian Environment Trust) and other non-governamental resources. They therefore belong to the field of “active citizenship,” whom goal is “Studying to achieve a socially visible result.” In this approach, the civic education seems prevailing and sometimes suffocates the historical one, that is quite different: “Studying to analize, compare, discover and, at last, understand.”

Furthermore, it seems that this series of activities highlights the consolidation of certain stereotypes in schools. That of the “beautiful landscape,” for example; or that the landscape is “historic” only when there are historical remains. Alongside these, the most worrying phenomena consist in other phaenomenon, i.e., the essentialization of the historical landscape and, together with this, a dangerous identity and ownership interpretation, which comes into conflict both with historical thinking and the multicultural reality of Italian society (Remotti, 2011; Amselle, 1990; Gelman, 2005; Gallissot, 1987).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Identity / Collective Identity: Political / ideological construction that induces individuals to be part of a group, religious, cultural or political.

ROOT: Vegetable metaphor, used analytically by scholars to indicate temporal relationships from the present to the past, essentialized in common language

Essentialization: Cognitive process of hypostatization of abstract, too complexe or relational knowledge

Cultured Stereotypes: Stereotypes of cultured origin often spread even among scholars.

Heritage / Inheritance: In analytical way temporal relation from the past to the present, which is essentialized in the common language

Belonging (sense of): Feeling of adherence to a group that, starting from the nineteenth century, is used to favor adhesion to the national macro-communities, and – in our days – also to cultural, religious or micro-communities.

Invented Traditions: Stories used to favor collective identification processes, obtained with historical or variously cultural materials

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