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Columbus from multiple perspectives

A multinational analysis of Columbus in popular history magazines


by Thomas Nygren, Margaret Taylor, Elisabeth Kelleway, Robert Thorp, Annie Olsson and Johanna Hohner


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In popular culture, Christopher Columbus is often depicted as a discoverer and hero and there are celebrations in his honour. Columbus’ legacy is, however, not undisputed, and this fact can be used to illustrate contemporary use and misuse of history. Thus, popular history texts describing the life and deeds of Columbus are examples of different ways of using history. In teaching popular history magazines can be used in various ways. The learning objective here is that the images, texts and questions should contribute to the understanding of how history can be used in contemporary media. Columbus' deeds, with colonialism and imperialism as a result, highlight historical issues which show how very differently history can be interpreted and portrayed – not least in different countries. Studying the articles is an exciting way to learn more about history and to practice media-critical thinking and multiperspectivity.

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