Combating Islamaphobia through history teaching

An expert in history teaching says the subject can be used as a tool to help combat Islamophobia.

Associate Professor Yosanne Vella from the University of Malta, discussed her work on Thursday 17 March as part of Victoria University’s Centre for Cultural Diversity and Wellbeing’s (CCDW) regular research seminar series.

Dr Vella’s research explores one-sided images of “the other” within the Maltese context, using a topic from the Maltese history national curriculum: The Great Siege of Malta in 1565.

Dr Mario Peucker, a CCDW postdoctoral research fellow and organiser of the seminar series, said the topic resonates with the basic rationale of the Australian curriculum, which emphasise that schools need to equip students not just with factual knowledge, but also capabilities that include intercultural understanding.

“Teaching Australian history offers great opportunities to teach about Muslims whose presence in Australia predates the arrival of the First Fleet, and has continued to make invaluable contributions to the wellbeing of society ever since,” he said.

Dr Vella’s presentation was an inspiring example for Australian educators to see how history can help students deepen their understanding of Australia as an inherently and historically diverse society, he said.   

The event was co-sponsored by VU's Victoria Institute.

Dr Vella was vice-chair of the Education and Culture Committee of NGOs in the Council of Europe until 2014, and is presently an ambassador of the European History Educators’ network, Euroclio. She is vice-president of Malta’s History Teachers’ Association and of Malta’s Historical Society.  



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