Faculty Spotlight: Peter Seixas

Peter Seixas’ research examines how people—both children and adults—develop and revise their understandings of the past, how history is used for guiding and justifying decisions made in the present, and how individuals and groups both commemorate past heroism and come to terms with historical injustice. Investigation of these and related questions contributes to the theorization of historical consciousness, and has important implications for the design of history education in schools, museums and historical sites.

Dr. Seixas’ research and his leadership of the pan-Canadian Historical Thinking Project have sparked major changes in provincial school curricula, shaped new history textbooks, and reformed teachers’ professional development practices across Canada and beyond.


Dr. Seixas’ career began as high school social studies teacher in Vancouver (15 years).  Now, as Director of UBC’s Centre for the Study of Historical Consciousness, he brings together researchers and practitioners who focus on history education with those whose primary interests lie in collective memory and historiography.

His publications include Knowing, Teaching and Learning History: National and International Perspectives (2000) edited with Peter Stearns and Sam Wineburg, Theorizing Historical Consciousness (2004), and New Directions in Assessing Historical Thinking (2015) edited with Kadriye Ercikan. He is also a co-author of The Big Six Historical Thinking Concepts (2013) and Canadians and Their Pasts (2013).

His contributions have been recognized with the Canada Research Chair in Historical Consciousness (2001-2014), a fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada, NCSS’ Exemplary Research Award, the American Studies Association’s Constance Rourke Award, the American Historical Association’s William Gilbert Award, the Innovation Award of the BC Social Studies Teachers’ Association, the National Leadership Award of the Ontario History and Social Science Teachers’ Association, UBC’s Killam Faculty Teaching Prize and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for Service to Canada. He received the 2015 Jean Dresden Grambs Distinguished Career Research Award from the National Council for Social Studies.

Dr. Seixas will retire from UBC in June, 2016.

More about Dr. Peter Seixas