Ana Isabel Madeira and Luís Grosso Correia
This chapter addresses two intertwined topics: colonial education and anticolonial intellectual struggles. The first refers to the historical period of European colonization in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and America, starting with the establishment of colonial education systems. Formal education represented the spread of colonial models of education furthered by stereotypes about indigenous cultures. The chapter concentrates on sub-Saharan African colonies, mainly the Portuguese, the English, and the French overseas territories. Anticolonial intellectual struggles are examined as movements that invoke ideas of social justice, emancipation, and opposition to the oppressive structures of racism, discrimination, and exploitation. Anticolonial thought contributed much to the reshaping of the educational systems, often relying on precolonial cultures combined with internationally influential thinkers such as Gandhi, Fanon, Césaire, and Cabral. Postcolonial theories and comparative methodologies provide an understanding of the role played by anticolonial narratives in reshaping national identities and political educational strategies.
Child labor and compulsory education were entwined in the context of conflicting social constructions of childhood. As public schools spread in the nineteenth-century United States, a modern construction of childhood as a time to go to school evolved for protected middle-class children. At the same time, with industrialization, migration, emancipation, and population growth, increasing numbers of poor and working-class children were constructed as child laborers. Anti–child labor campaigns proceeded piecemeal, not always in concert with compulsory education laws. With the transition from agricultural to industrial societies, constructions of childhood varied internationally, by culture, region, race, gender, class, caste, and politics. Worldwide, children from low-income families were less protected and less able to attend school. Driven in part by global economic competition, income disparities, testing, and other variables, a postmodern reconstruction of childhood has been emerging, in which pressured children work hard at school and emotionally at home. Yet with persistent child labor in many parts of the world, other children experience different kinds of pressure and difficulties becoming and performing as students.
Historical interpretation is subject to change, a process often described as revisionism. This chapter distinguishes between a basic form of revisionism that changes or erases the past with no respect for evidence and a “historical revisionism” that has developed over the past century to build on, revise, or challenge previous accounts of the past. Historical revisionism is discussed with reference to changing historiographical approaches. It has become central to research in the history of education, for example in the United States and Britain. A broad consensus has been established in the history of education to explore the relationship between education and social change, although this has itself led to fresh debates over the nature of this relationship. These general historiographical developments in the history of education have played themselves out in different nations and regions, albeit at their own pace and at different times.
This chapter analyzes the cultural conditions that gave rise to curriculum studies and later to curriculum history, and the ways that curriculum history could become a cooperative research program for understanding the development of schools in their respective cultural and national contexts. It makes a distinction between a global and an international research agenda, suggesting that the latter offers important advantages. It also addresses the historical roles that constitutions play in shaping citizens through schooling. The chapter also analyzes how the architecture of education systems aims not only at fabricating national unity and identity but also at creating social distinctions within the nation-state.
Paul J. Ramsey
Although the historiography of migrant education is, in many ways, problematic—especially the lack of historical literature for many regions of the world—general patterns do arise. As nation-states and their educational systems began to emerge and develop in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the schooling of migrant children often focused on assimilating them into the national culture. In the decades following the Second World War, the heavy-handed acculturation began to give way to more multicultural notions of schooling, although, in practice, multicultural education often simplified cultural differences and continued, albeit in different ways, to demand a sort of conformity to the new national, multicultural norms, thus undermining a true acceptance of all migrant populations.
Christopher M. Span and Brenda N. Sanya
Countless historians have studied the African diaspora, but one topic that has been significantly understudied is education. This chapter documents how Africans in the diaspora came to learn, attend school, and advance their knowledge, both during enslavement and in the years thereafter, and how those educational experiences impacted Africans on and off the continent. It is a remarkable narrative. From the earliest schooling considerations in African kingdoms, to Haiti, the first black republic, and the Caribbean and the Americas, this chapter details how Africans used literacy and schools well into the twentieth century as a means to liberate themselves from enslavement and segregation by law and advance themselves as citizens in their new homelands and for uplift around the world.
The conventional approach to the study of Greek and Roman education has emphasized the elements in it that are most familiar to people who approach the subject from the perspective of the Western tradition. These elements include formal curricula, literary canons, pedagogical methods, teaching and learning materials, and schools. An expansion in what is understood as “education,” together with the influence of social history and anthropology on traditional classical studies, has since the 1970s led to the intensive examination of other features of Greek and Roman childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood (for both males and females), such as rites of passage, initiation, and civic education. Taking recent research into account, this chapter considers the role that the familiar, traditional elements played in Greek and Roman education, but it also surveys other widespread practices that are of broad social and historical interest for modern research.
Spencer E. Young
This chapter highlights the institutions and content that characterized three crucial phases of education in the Middle Ages: Carolingian education, the twelfth-century Renaissance, and the rise and spread of the university. The various kinds of schools that flourished across medieval Europe reflected its classical and Christian heritages and the productive tensions between those two traditions. While the chapter reflects the predominant focus of medieval schooling on educating male Christians, it also includes discussion of the educational opportunities that were available to females and non-Christians. Although only a minority of people received a formal education in the Middle Ages, many of those attained a significant level of learning.
From earliest times, both China and Japan developed sophisticated traditions in education. China’s major educational aspiration, based on Confucianism, was centered on developing the heart-mind for exemplary moral conduct. Buddhism was also influential, as were Daoism in China and Shinto in Japan, but Confucian values dominated educational thought and institutions, including private academies. In China the civil service examination system played a major role in molding the educational curriculum. Japan, heavily influenced by Chinese Confucianism, adapted it to a very different culture, society, and political system. At the elementary level so-called temple schools, actually private secular institutions, focused on teaching literacy. Along with government schools and local academies, they flourished in Tokugawa Japan, educating both samurai and commoners. In both China and Japan, schooling for girls was not as widespread as for boys. Women were expected to manage the household and educate their children, while men managed public affairs.
Lucy E. Bailey and Karen Graves
Gendered analysis has enacted a radical intervention in educational history through highlighting women’s roles and experiences, exploring gendered educational forces, institutions, practices, and policies, and expanding theories and methodologies. The field encompasses women’s, feminist, and gender history and diverse sites and periods of study. Although distinct in central concerns and emphases, these approaches continue to overlap, intersect, or unfold concurrently in practice, creating productive tensions that shape the field. The perspective of how the field is gendered depends in part on how its boundaries are drawn. This is both a theoretical and a methodological matter and, for many gender scholars, also a political one. The reach and production of gendered historiography is inevitably uneven, shaped by disciplinary identities, material conditions of embodied academic labor, and the uneven availability of resources to support historical research and teaching.
Charles E. McClelland
The new-model German university of the nineteenth century built upon previous efforts to reform higher education and reached its highest point of development and influence before World War I. It shaped the roles of universities worldwide. Reforms reflected the conscious creation of institutions promoting cutting-edge research, in fields from physics and medicine to law and theology. This was combined with the highest standards of active, self-involved student preparation for the learned professions. Yet even at the height of its prestige, its contradictions and limitations were already visible by the 1920s. When the concept of the elite research university is subject to critique, revisiting its origins in Germany can provide stimulus to debates about the future of the university, not only in North America and Europe but in all countries with higher education systems influenced by the German or American models.
This chapter examines national systems of higher education in Asia. Asia’s long history, together with its extraordinary diversity, presents dual challenges to the historian. While its past still haunts its present, its many religious influences and ethnicities, as well as an array of more current developments, also present challenges. Two common themes are the attempt to balance local traditions while incorporating knowledge from outside, largely the West, and the differential development of individual Asian higher education systems. The latter is now bringing change to earlier core-periphery distinctions. The global knowledge system is now much more multipolar, with the rise of China as the most obvious example. Nonetheless, while highly developed educational systems such as in Singapore compete vigorously internationally, middle-income states such as Thailand and Malaysia harbor ambitions that are not always fulfilled, and very poor systems still struggle with basic issues of finance, governance, access, and equity.
Canadian and U.S. higher education share some commonalities, such as historical denominational influence while provincial and state governments played important roles in the development of colleges and universities. Both federal governments supported research, primarily in the sciences, during World War I and II, leading to continued support in the postwar years. Both nations experienced substantial enrollment growth, at different times, growth aided by community colleges, although U.S. enrollments have long been much larger. Student experiences were to some degree similar, including among college women who experienced discrimination while enrolled and as graduates, and that there were constraints on the opportunity to attend college. There are also important differences. College sports, for instance, have been very important in the United States, though not in Canada. Also, the remarkable wealth of several U.S. colleges and universities provides them with some autonomy, though this is far less common among historically black institutions and many other colleges.
This chapter explores the history of higher education in Europe by considering three intersected dimensions: the global, national, and local spaces or geography of higher education; the contours of the higher education system regarding access, participation, and institutional differentiation; and the cultural, political, social, and economic rationales driving its expansion. Four historical periods are considered: the emergence of the medieval universities and their spread in the feudal order; the demands posed to universities by nation-states and the Enlightenment during the early modern period; the impact of the political and industrial revolutions; and the crisis of mass higher education since 1918. Overall, articulation among the rationales, shapes, and spaces of higher education has changed periodically across history.
Despite being older and more pervasive than formal education, the history of nonformal and informal education is less fully examined by historians of education. This chapter explores the unique opportunities and challenges experienced by historians studying nonformal and informal education. The spectrum of nonformal and informal education is incredibly diverse and includes the set of all social institutions that serve to shape an individual’s knowledge and values. It spans museums and libraries, popular media, and even casual relationships between young people and more experienced members of their communities. The study of the history of nonformal and informal education brings to the fore ontological questions about educational history, including what counts as an educational institution, the differences between education and entertainment, and whether the same research methods that apply to the study of formal educational institutions can be applied to the study of their less formal counterparts.
This chapter is an overarching historical narrative of the development of the occupations of teaching and school administration, focusing on the history of educators who have worked as elementary and secondary public school teachers and local school administrators. The emphasis is on the historical development of Anglo and Anglo American education, with notations of patterns of change in a more global context. The chapter discusses the nature of research on the history of educators, and then introduces three themes that mark the history of teachers and school administrators: the creation of state systems of education, the troubled history of professionalization of education, and the historical relationship of public school educators to the state.
Technology has intersected with education throughout human history. One prominent dimension has entailed various devices and tools for learning, such as illustrated texts, film, radio, television, computers, mobile technologies, and social media. A second dimension has entailed technologies of instruction pertaining to the design and utilization of messages that influence learning. Despite unlimited possibilities for inquiry, few historians have investigated this multifaceted field. Furthermore most historical studies of educational technology have ignored how technologies in different historical moments impacted particular groups of children and adults. Explicit considerations of race, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic status have largely been lacking. Opportunities abound for historians to identify and examine the broader societal contexts that encouraged or inhibited the development and implementation of new educational technologies and to explore how these dynamics mitigated, perpetuated, or exacerbated enduring problems in education.
This chapter offers an overview of transnational and comparative education as a specific research perspective in the field of the history of education. Since the late twentieth century, historical scholarship in general and the history of education grew skeptical about the analytical value of the nation as a focus for researching the educational past. The older historiographical tradition of comparative studies in the history of education, heavily relying on nations and national states, showed in this context its shortcomings. The immediate impact of this development was a new trend in historical research related to transnational history focusing on entanglements and border crossing. The analysis shows theoretical and methodological assumptions of both research directions, discusses their respective thematic emphasis, and proposes to change the collaborative culture of historians of education as a means of coping with the challenges of transnational and comparative histories of education.
This chapter reviews research on the history of inequality in education. Across the globe and since the advent of formal schooling, children from wealthier families have had access to more education, and more costly education, than their less affluent peers. More physically and intellectually advantaged children have also, on average, had greater educational opportunities than their less fortunate peers. Yet within this general historic truth lies considerable variation in terms of how, to what extent, and by what political justification educational inequalities have existed and persisted. Historians have sought to explain variations in inequality in education across time and place and to situate those inequalities within a larger sociohistoric context. One overarching finding from this large and varied body of research is that reform of school systems’ organization and practices is frequently a necessary but insufficient strategy in reducing inequalities in education.
John L. Rury and Eileen H. Tamura
The history of education is a venerable and multifaceted field of research and writing, dating from the nineteenth century as subject taught in many countries. Initially a central component of teacher education, it grew into a vibrant branch of social and institutional history after the 1960s. Like other fields, it was influenced by social movements of the latter twentieth century and continues to exhibit a concern for questions of inequity and discrimination. It has been influenced by social science theory and research, particularly the work of sociologists and economists, and reflects a variety of methodological and evidentiary traditions. While historians of education have focused largely on events at the national and local scale, they also have longstanding interests in comparative and international research. Historians continue to find new facets of the educational past to examine, insuring that the field will remain lively and compelling for the foreseeable future.