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History teachers’ epistemic considerations

A symposium on how teachers make sense of history

October 13–14, 2022, Umeå, Sweden

Epistemological considerations have been discussed within the realm of historical scholarship for a very long time. The acknowledgement of a disparity between the past itself and the histories about that past has increasingly also been applied to history curricula in many parts of the world and so called multi-perspectivism now has a prominent place in history teaching. As an important means of promoting a society’s democratic vibrancy, multi-perspectivism enables students to take critical distance from their knowledge claims and helps complicate and counter the powerful effects of pre-given cognitive frames that tend to reinforce national myths. However, these same syllabi are still also vehicles for national cohesion and tend to reconstruct a national past that is not up for debate. This ambiguity embedded in the combination of reconstruction and deconstruction is a difficult landscape for teachers to navigate. This symposium will explore these issues and they will be addressed in different ways from a multitude of perspectives. Accommodation in Umeå (2 nights) will be covered for the ~20 participants invited (see call for papers below regarding how to submit a proposal)

Call for papers

This symposium seeks papers that explore both conceptual as well as empirical approaches to the issues related to epistemic considerations or beliefs that teachers of history might hold. The primary questions that the symposium seeks to address are:

  1. How do teachers, and prospective teachers, reason regarding the epistemic nature of history? How does their reasoning relate to student groups and syllabi and/or philosophical considerations?
  2. To what extent and in what way does teachers’ reasoning regarding these issues influence their teaching?
  3. How do teachers interpret epistemological issues discussed in curricula and syllabi?
  4. What are the implications for prospective history teacher training and for in-service training of history teachers?

We seek submissions of abstracts of no more than 300 words proposing papers that can be presented at the symposium in Umeå on October 13–14, 2022. The convenors intend to publish the papers presented at the symposium as an edited volume with a major academic publishing house.

Submission guidelines

To submit a paper proposal, please present a 300-word abstract that includes the title of your paper, a description of the topic, as well as the intended theoretical and methodological approach, your email address, and a short bio (2–3 sentences). Send your abstract to

The deadline for submitting abstracts is 15 February 2022.

Applicants will be notified of acceptance by the end of February 2022.


Liliana Maggioni, Catholic University of America, USA

Martin Nitsche, FHNW School of Education, Switzerland

Robert Parkes, University of Newcastle, Australia


Henrik Åström Elmersjö (Umeå University)
Paul Zanazanian (McGill University)