On History – Malachi McIntosh and Hannah Elias

There’s no question the UK is experiencing a great moment of national uncertainty in this pre-Brexit environment. With a rise in hate crime, mounting evidence of persistent racial bias, and an increasing frequency of xenophobic and anti-immigrant language in our politics, it’s not surprising that a fervent conversation has been prompted on what it means to be British. There is a direct link between how Britishness is contested and defined in our public understanding, and the debate on how British history should be taught and understood in classrooms across the country. Put another way; what’s missing from our curriculum is also missing from our public debate. The voices and experiences of Black British and British Asian people are often excluded in schools or inserted as add-ons or supplements to ‘real’ history. School history programmes tending to focus on Tudor monarchs and the World Wars at the expense of the concurrent events in British history that were perhaps even more consequential: notably, the histories of empire and migration.

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