Peter Seixas

Scarfe 1326A


Professor Emeritus

Collective Memory
Historical Consciousness


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.

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Selected Publications

Ercikan, Kadriye and Peter Seixas, New Directions in Assessing Historical Thinking (New York: Routledge, 2015).

Conrad, Margaret, Kadriye Ercikan, Gerald Friesen, Del Muise, David North and Peter Seixas. Canadians and Their Pasts, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013).

Seixas, Peter and Tom Morton, The Big Six Historical Thinking Concepts (Toronto: Nelson, 2013).

Seixas, Peter. “Progress, presence and historical consciousness: Confronting past, present and future in postmodern time.” Paedagogica Historica 48, no.6 (2012): 859-872. DOI: 10.1080/00309230.2012.709524

Seixas, Peter and Kadriye Ercikan. “Historical thinking in Canadian schools.” Canadian Journal of Social Research, 4, no.1 (2011), pp. 31-41.

Peck, Carla*, Stuart Poyntz* and Peter Seixas. “‘Agency’ in students’ narratives of Canadian History.” In Lukas Perikleous and Denis Shemilt, eds. The Future of the Past: Why History Education Matters (Association for Historical Dialogue and Research, 2011), pp. 253-282.

Ercikan, Kadriye and Peter Seixas. “Assessment of higher order thinking: the case of historical thinking,” in Gregory Schraw, ed., Assessment of Higher Order Thinking Skills, (Scottsdale: Arizona, Information Age Publishing, 2011), pp. 245-261.

Seixas, Peter, “Assessment of historical thinking.” In Penney Clark, ed. New Possibilities for the Past (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2011), pp. 139-153.

Seixas, Peter and Penney Clark, “Obsolete icons and the teaching of history.” In Penney Clark, ed. New Possibilities for the Past (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2011), pp. 282-301.

Seixas, Peter. “University-Based Research on History Didactics: A Canadian Story.” In J. Hodel & B. Ziegler (Hg.)Forschungswerkstatt empirisch 09. Beiträge zur Tagung “geschichtsdidaktik empirisch 07” (Geschichtsdidaktik heute, Band 3). Bern: hep, 2010.

Seixas, Peter, “A Modest Proposal for Change in Canadian History Education,” International Review of History Education, vol. 6, 2010.

Seixas, Peter. “National History and Beyond: An Introduction,” Journal of Curriculum Studies 41 no. 6 (2009): 719-722.

Peck, Carla and Peter Seixas, “Benchmarks of Historical Thinking: First Steps,” Canadian Journal of Education, 31, no.4 (2008).

Seixas, Peter. “’People’s History’ in North America: Agency, Ideology, Epistemology,” In S. Berger, L. Eriksonas and A. Mycock (Eds.), Narrating the Nation: Representations in History, Media and the Arts, (New York: Berghahn Books, 2008), pp. 269-289.

Seixas, Peter. “Popular Film and Young People’s Understanding of the History of Native American-White Relations.“ In Celluloid Blackboard: Teaching History with Film, ed. Alan S. Marcus (Greenwich CT: Information Age Publishing, 2007), 99-120.

Seixas, Peter. “Who Needs a Canon?” In Beyond the Canon: History for the 21st Century, ed. Maria Grever and Siep Stuurman (London: Palgrave-Macmillan), 2007, pp. 19-30.

Seixas, Peter (ed.). (2004) Theorizing Historical Consciousness, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.