Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
Historical Encounters is an interdisciplinary journal “dedicated to the empirical and theoretical study of historical consciousness…, historical cultures (the English equivalent of the German term Geschichtskultur which literally translates to "history culture…," and history education in both formal and informal settings.” Because of its broad aims, the editors seek manuscripts from the fields of public history, history didactics, curriculum & pedagogy studies, cultural studies, narrative theory, and historical theory, and are “particularly interested in presenting a variety of voices from scholars at various career stages,” and encourage those early in their careers to submit their work for review.
At startup, the editors noted that a single, ongoing issue would be published each year, with new material added as soon as it passes through the reviewing and copy editing processes. They also stated that “Each calendar year a single special issue will be published that focuses on a theme that is relevant, topical, and of interest to the readership of the journal,” and further noted that three types of essays were sought for publication in the journal: articles (original papers), provocations (“polemic essays that challenge dominant discourses or provoke debate”), and rejoinders (that respond to articles published in earlier issues of the journal). In the current issue, Volume 2, Number 1, 2015, five issues have been published so far: “Civic consciousness: A viable concept for advancing students’ ability to orient themselves to possible futures?,” “Historical consciousness and metaphor: Charting new directions for grasping human historical sense-making patterns for knowing and acting in time,” “Understanding agency and developing historical thinking through labour history in elementary school: A local history learning experience,” “Source criticism in the classroom: An empiricist straitjacket on pupils’ historical thinking?,” and “On genocide and the Holocaust in Swedish History teaching.” The other available issue, Volume 1, Number 1, 2014, holds the editorial, ”Encountering history within and beyond borders,” along with seven articles, a provocation (“Towards bad history? A call for the use of counterfactual historical reasoning in history education”), and an abstract for the dissertation, “Towards a multilateral analysis of ‘knowing Asia’: a policy trajectory approach.”
Although the Home page of the journal states, “Open call special issues will be advertised as announcements on the journal website” no special issues have yet been published, nor are there any announcements on the site inviting submissions for a special issue. It is early days to expect any rejoinder essays, since the journal is only a year old and only one provocation has been published.
Based on the quality and variety of what’s here at present, combined with the size and diversity of the journal’s Editorial Board, it’s to be hoped that Historical Encounters grows and thrives. It’s founded on an interesting premise and promises high quality, open access discussion of myriad historical issues.