Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version


Document Type



Scribner, Grant (2020). Difficulty and Distance in Educational Encounters with Historical Violence, The Nebraska Educator, Volume 5 (2020), pp. 57-69

ISSN 2375-6853

doi: 10.32873/unl.dc.ne003


© 2020 University of Nebraska.


This article reviews recent literature that addresses historical violence, difficult history, and the production of historical distance in teaching and learning about past violence. The author argues that based on the literature, the processes by which certain violent histories become “difficult” while others are aestheticized deserve greater attention. As violent histories become more or less difficult, the production of nuanced, contextually contingent historical distances may have serious implications for teachers’ pedagogical decisions as well as students’ reactions and understanding. The author argues further that historical violence not considered difficult or traumatic in a given moment and context deserves greater attention from scholars and researchers.