Abstract Prof. Dr. Michele Barricelli (Hannover): The Crusades in school books – an international comparison

The Crusades being undertakings of “international” character and a step on the way towards creating a pan-European consciousness, they are treated in many history text books in a lot of the European countries.

It is easy to understand that the descriptions in these books depend on the different cultural frameworks, which means the discourses held about religion, cultural conflict, violence, European identity and diversity with regard to the respective society. It is very interesting to lead a comparative study and examine on what basis the typical Crusade narrative in text books are found and how they treat the ever present political, social and cultural narrative references. Or, to be more precise: in which myth the history of armed pilgrimage is clad in the different text books.

In this presentation we will present the findings by examining selected samples in probably French, Italian and primarily German. We will ask for instance which modes of historical formation of a judgment, medial codes and formats of task orientation are used in these samples. It will become obvious that on the one hand the national imprinted presentation in school books is telling us more about the here and now as about past times, like every historical narrative. On the other hand we will see that with some good will differentiation, empathy and the will to reappraise history in a responsible way are still possible. Some observations on the representations of Crusade from the other interested party, namely the Arab perspective, will complete the picture.