Critical history and collective memory : a problem with Jewish education
This research has been stimulated by the profound ambivalence which Jewish schools show in deciding whether or how to teach Jewish history. This ambivalence is first examined in the context of a philosophical analysis of the relationship between critical history and other forms of historical consciousness. Finding this approach deficient, a psychological examination of how Jewish students experience the study of Jewish history is proposed. A critical review of research into children's historical thinking leads to the suggestion that alternative research traditions may be more fruitfully employed here. As a result, it is proposed to apply a concept mapping methodology to the investigation of what Jewish students acquire from the critical study of Jewish history. Theoretical problems raised by this proposal are confronted and resolved, and a defensible research strategy is then formulated according to series of explicitly articulated empirical and theoretical assumptions. This culminates in the presentation and description of an instrument for the generation and analysis of conceptual representations of Jewish historical knowledge in cognitive structure. Two case studies are offered. These are followed by a discussion of (1) how these studies might inform debate about the consequences of teaching critical Jewish history in Jewish schools; (2) the possibilities offered by applying a concept mapping methodology to Jewish education in general.