Date Thesis Awarded

4-2016

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

History

Advisor

Betsy Konefal

Committee Member

Michael Iyanaga

Committee Member

Robert Trent Vinson

Abstract

This Honors Thesis places schools at the focus of an exploration of “post-war” Guatemala. Schools, particularly primary schools, are epicenters for civic education and the basis of historical knowledge for citizens. I seek to show that following a divisive civil war schools are an important site of contestation of national narratives. Examination of the primary school curriculum in Guatemala, and interviews with primary school teachers reveal how the official state narrative does (or, significantly, does not) address the recent traumatic past, leading to the creation of historical memory. These sources also demonstrate the impact of the educational reform as part of the Guatemalan peace process, which placed an emphasis on multiculturalism and a culture of peace framework. These revelations are particularly important in the Guatemalan case, as the nation is still grappling with the lingering affects of a nearly four-decade long internal conflict with deeply rooted historical causes.

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