What does it mean to ‘do’ history? 20.12.2013 - 21.12.2013

An introduction to historical enquiry and secondary concepts with focus on continuity and change

In collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands and the Center for Lebanese Studies, LAH invited Maria Georgiou from Cyprus to facilitate activities that introduce disciplinary approaches to learning history. Maria facilitated the workshop What does it mean to ‘do’ history? : An introduction to historical enquiry and secondary concepts, with focus on continuity and change on December 20 to 21, 2013 at the Centre for Lebanese Studies in Beirut.

The facilitator provided a theoretical framework by clarifying what is meant by “historical enquiry”. She then led participants to engage in historical thinking by focusing on historical concepts while working on a selection of primary and secondary historical sources. One of the goals of history education is to provide young people with opportunities to think and act like historians; thus, participants were asked to think of the stories that the sources tell us and to try to put together missing pieces.

Participants experimented with continuity and change by probing into a case-study of a displaced family who passed in 1922 from Turkey and the Ottoman Rule to Cyprus and the British rule. The topic was chosen for its relevance to the Lebanese context where “displacement” took place during many stages of Lebanon’s modern history. Participants were also invited to compare and contrast the concepts of “change and continuity” and “causation”. In the final activity, they were asked to examine a variety of sources on the formation of the “Republic of Lebanon” and then to design in groups their own lesson plan on continuity and change. Each group then presented their lesson plan and received feedback from Maria and the audience. The workshop revealed the need to further engage teachers with historical thinking as the notion of “Historical Concepts” was new to most of them.