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Charting La Vía Chilena : national imagining and textbook history Belnave, Stephen

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between regime politics, the political orientation of textbook authors and editors, and the national narratives of Chilean school history textbooks from the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's. It explains how history textbooks were used to cement a Conservative nationalist vision of Chile's past, and argues that the nationalist rhetoric of history textbooks was used as a political tool both in support of the Pinochet regime and against Chilean Marxists. Whereas these efforts were undertaken in the name of "national reconciliation," I argue that the aggressive re-construction of Chilean national imagining by supporters of the Pinochet regime only served to polarize Chilean national imagining between the political left and right. I conclude that the writing of less divisive or more inclusive national narratives will not fully address this legacy of the dictatorship. Instead, Chilean students should be encouraged to criticize the political abuses of shared nationalist discourses that took place in the 1970's and 1980's in order to come to terms with recent Chilean history.

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