The International Feast of History: Active Learning of History for Active Citizens

The International Feast of History: Active Learning of History for Active Citizens

Beatrice Borghi (Università di Bologna, Italy), Rolando Dondarini (Università di Bologna, Italy) and Filippo Galletti (Università di Bologna, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7110-0.ch014

Abstract

Personal and collective stories, in which each one of us is the subject and direct participant, do not begin with our existence but much earlier. Inside and all around us, innumerable hereditary elements and memories reach us, survive and are transformed from many past generations up to the present. When recognized and considered in all their different shades, these inheritances, as well as helping us to form our personal identities can become opportunities to combine together and construct a sense of collective, fixed, and shared belonging, thereby creating the basis of vital dynamics which are open to new contributions. All this can be achieved following the correct paths of education towards patrimony and active citizenship. To favor such opportunities, the international history event intends not only to take up and confront some of the most current and fascinating themes regarding humanity, but to strongly reiterate the right of everybody to learn about and cultivate their own personal story in the face of the homogenization imposed by today's consumer society.
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Organization Background

A lack of memory prevents us from referring back to our experiences, making weighted choices and to foresee at least in part the consequences of them, while limiting and jeopardizing each individual’s right of freedom and autonomy by making them subordinate to the will of others.

Nowadays we risk forgetting how to face a future of undefined contours and without knowing sufficiently even the origins and roots of the most pressing and decisive current matters: those issues regarding living together both at a local level and at an international one; issues about equal opportunities, social components and cultural minorities; legal matters; those concerning the limits and imbalances of economic development and motivations, genesis and adaptability of the normative and constitutional basis which have been put into force at both national and international levels.

From these reflections, we may deduce that among those components which make up the overall formation, it is the historical one that has a leading role. This is because it induces not just a greater understanding of the origins and the presuppositions of actual realities but also a profound critical capacity and understanding of those evolution processes at work. It also considers the consequential possibilities of a better planning of one’s own individual and collective future, connecting it to the past and the present in a historical curve, where each important choice is destined to reverberate on the quality of life of future generations and become irreversible.

Even if sometimes repressed, it is a need that has been manifested in every human generation, and nowadays it is amplified by an unprecedented acceleration in changes in the scales of values, behavior and environmental issues.

Taking into consideration these continuous transformations, it is essential to carry out research on didactic strategies more suitable in rendering the teaching of history efficiently at all school levels leading to comparisons at both national and international levels, which allow the identification of fundamental and irrevocable paradigms.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Passamano: The passing of objects from hand to hand by a chain of people.

Basilica della Beata Vergine di San Luca: A basilica dedicated to the Marian Catholic cult situated on Guardia Hill, a partly wooded spur, 300 meters above sea level lying to the south-west of Bologna’s historic center. It is an important sanctuary in the city’s history dating from its origins as a pilgrimage destination for worshipping the icon of the Virgin Mary with Child, called San Luca.

Patrimony: Homogeneous and multiple combination of legacies and resources in which we see the joining together and cementing of characters, cultural heritage, environmental, historical-artistic and scientific knowledge, and ideals collected and shared by human communities in their diverse territorial environments.

Portico di San Luca: A 3.8 km. long porticoed pathway which joins Bologna’s center to the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin. The first section of the portico (approximately 1.8 kms.) is flat; the second part however, which starts from the Melancello Arch goes uphill for two km. with an average gradient of 10.8%. It is over this last tract that, in 1677, the passing of construction materials for building the portico, the so-called, Passamano for San Luca, was first started and still continues to this day.

Jacques Le Goff: (1924-2014) a French medieval historian who devoted most of his research to historical anthropology, cultural history and the history of mentality; his work revolutionized the historical studies of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Bologna: Capital and largest city of the Emilia-Romagna Region in Northern Italy. It is the seventh most populous city in Italy; at it lies at the heart of a metropolitan area of about one million people.

Public History: A combination of coordinated and methodologically valid activities, whose scope is to perceive history and all traces of it as the patrimony of the community that has to be really shared, felt and not simply divulged.

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