History seminars at the IHR
History of Education
Convenors: Gary McCulloch (Institute of Education, University of London)
Venue: Venue: Room G21A, Senate House, Ground floor unless otherwise stated
Time: Thursdays, 5.30pm
Imperial pedagogue: E.B. Sargant in South Africa, 1900-1905
Dr Philip Gardner (University of Cambridge)
This paper seeks to contribute to colonial history understood as the engagements of historical actors with the intellectual contexts within which they found themselves to be acting (which, for early-twentieth century British imperialists comprised ideas, amongst others, about varieties of collectivism, efficiency, idealism, expertise and evolutionary progress). From this perspective, a coherent approach is that which draws upon speech act theory, seeking to elaborate the illocutionary intent of the public utterances of past actors, trying to identify, in other words, that which they were seeking to achieve in practical terms through contributing to normative linguistic contexts. In seeking to avoid the imputation of temporally anachronistic meanings to the utterances of such actors, the task of historical enquiry then becomes, as Quentin Skinner puts it, ‘to grasp their concepts, to follow their distinctions, to appreciate their beliefs and, so far as possible, to see things their way’ (Quentin Skinner, Visions of Politics, vol. 1: Regarding Method, Cambridge, CUP: 2002, 3).
This paper adopts an approach of this kind in considering the relatively slight but extremely precise body of educational writing by Edmund Beale Sargant (1855-1938) which has been largely overlooked in the histories of the two fields of activity to which Sargant devoted his mature attention – education and British imperialism. For Sargant, the two were bound together, imperialism being conceived as an essentially pedagogic enterprise and education as the channel along which transnational cultural and political movements most effectively flowed
Pleae note: this session has been postponed to a date to be announced
History of education in Brazil: the formation of the field and its theoretical influences
Dr Marisa Bittar, Dr Amarilio Ferreira Jr (Federal University of San Carlos, Brazil)
This seminar will present the constitution of the field of History of Education in Brazil, which, in the early twentieth century was strong as a discipline in the curricula of teacher training. As research, it began to strengthen in the 1960s from the creation of the Post-Graduate and became one of the most active area of education after the military dictatorship (1964-1985). Today it is organized through the Brazilian Society for the History of Education, and, with Portugal, hosts the Luso-Brazilian Congress of History of Education. We will also present its main theoretical influences, starting with the positivist interpretation, which, from the 1970s, was criticized by Marxists, which, in its turn, was overcome by currents derived from the French Annales School. Currently, the field is marked by the renewal of themes and theory and faces two challenges: the exchange with the production of the English language, and the appreciation of the history of education as a discipline, as it has been losing ground in the curricula of teacher training.
Please note: this session has been postponed for a later date to be annouonced
Alex Bloom - pioneer of radical democratic state education
Professor Michael Fielding (Institute of Education London)
Alex Bloom was from 1945-55 headteacher of St. George-in-the-East Secondary School, Stepney, in the heart of London’s tough East End. His work established him as one of the great 20th century pioneers of radical democratic approaches to education that exemplify a lived commitment to the values and practices of participatory democracy in every part of the school’s daily practice, governance, and role in wider society. Yet, despite international acclaim on his death in 1955, Bloom is now virtually unknown. This paper presents some of the key issues emerging from my Leverhulme funded research which not only seeks to (a) tell a richer story than any existing account of Bloom’s work, but also seeks to (b) answer questions to do with how Bloom was able to do what he did within the English state system of education.
Compulsory education in Quebec: contradictory facets of an historical debate and paradoxes for the future
Professor Therese Hamel (University of Laval, Canada)