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Pedagogy, wrote Robin Alexander, is ‘a window on the culture of which it is a part, and on that culture's underlying tensions and contradictions’. In the eighteenth century, a principal tension was expressed as the battle between the Ancients and the Moderns. Education was profoundly implicated in this debate, involving a real practice: a classical education vs. a modern education, at a time when 'modern' was disparaged. This was not just about curriculum, it was also and fundamentally about pedagogy: what was taught, how and to whom. 

In this paper, I focus on the ways in which the teaching of Latin was refashioned in response to the perceived or real threat from pedagogies for modern subjects and how the competition between them resulted in the hegemony of Latin pedagogy. I argue that this hegemony had direct consequences on progressive pedagogies as well as on the persistent representation of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century female education as superficial.

All welcome - this seminar is free to attend but registration is required.