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      Of dragons and dinosaurs: How children’s toys and games create ideas of the past, of history and of fiction

      research-article

      History Education Research Journal

      UCL Press

      toys, children’s rooms, historical thinking, historical culture, fiction

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          Abstract

          This article outlines a trend in popular historical culture which has seen the increasing replacement of a concept of history that rests on some form of evidence base by visions of fictional pasts, or – to put it more precisely – by an ambiguous blend of the past and fictional pasts. Drawing on ethnographic research focused on the contents of Austrian children’s rooms, this paper explores traceable manifestations of history and historical fiction, particularly toy dragons and dinosaurs, in their properties as objects and as focuses of their owners’ interpretations as ascertained in interviews. The research finds little clear demarcation in the minds of the children interviewed (all between 8 and 12 years old) between imaginings and cognitive attempts to reconstruct the past. The article examines the influence of these factual–fictional representations on historical thinking from a history education perspective.

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          Most cited references 39

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          Dragons and Dinosaurs: The Child's Capacity to Differentiate Fantasy from Reality

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            Children's ability to distinguish fantasy events from real-life events

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              Barbie princesses and dinosaur dragons: narration as a way of doing gender

               Eva Änggård (2005)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                herj
                History Education Research Journal
                UCL Press (UK )
                2631-9713
                19 October 2021
                : 18
                : 2
                : 183-198
                Affiliations
                University of Salzburg, Austria
                Author notes
                Article
                10.14324/HERJ.18.2.04
                Copyright © 2021 Kühberger

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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                Figures: 4, References: 40, Pages: 17
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