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Article
Publication date: 4 June 2018

Roland Sintos Coloma

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the relationship between theory and history, or more specifically the role and use of theory in the field of history of education

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the relationship between theory and history, or more specifically the role and use of theory in the field of history of education. It will explore the following questions: What is theory, and what is it for? How do historians and, in particular, historians of education construe and use theory? And how do they respond to openly theoretical work? The author poses these questions in light of ongoing discussions in the field of history of education regarding the role, relevance, and utility of theory in historical research, analysis, and narratives.

Design/methodology/approach

The explicit use of theory in historical research is not altogether new, tracing an intellectual genealogy since the mid-1800s when disciplinary boundaries among academic fields were not so rigidly defined, developed and regulated. The paper analyzes three books that are geographically located in North America (USA), Australia, Europe (Great Britain) and Asia (India), thereby offering a transnational view of the use of theory in history of education. It also examines how historians of education respond to explicitly theoretical work by analyzing, as a case study, a 2011 special issue in History of Education Quarterly.

Findings

First, the paper delineates theory as a multidimensional concept and practice with varying and competing meanings and interpretations. Second, it examines three book-length historical studies of education that employ theoretical frameworks drawing from cultural, feminist poststructuralist and postcolonial approaches. The author’s analysis of these manuscripts reveals that historians of education who explicitly engage with theory pursue their research in reflexive, disruptive and generative modes. Lastly, it utilizes a recent scholarly exchange as a case study of how some historians of education respond to theoretically informed work. It highlights three lenses – reading with insistence, for resistance, and beyond – to understand the responses to the author’s paper on Foucault and poststructuralism.

Originality/value

Setting theory to work has a fundamentally transformative role to play in our thinking, writing and teaching as scholars, educators and students and in the productive re-imagining of history of education.

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 47 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 June 2018

Stephanie Spencer

The purpose of this paper is to set out three dilemmas that challenge historians of education who write for both professional and academic audiences. It focuses on the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to set out three dilemmas that challenge historians of education who write for both professional and academic audiences. It focuses on the example of using fiction as a source for understanding the informal education of girls in the twentieth century. It contributes to the debate over the purpose of history of education and the possibilities that intersecting and contested analytical frameworks might contribute to the development of the discipline.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper discusses the rules of engagement and the duties of a historian of education. It reforms current concerns into three dilemmas: audience, method and writing. It gives examples drawn from research into girls’ school stories between 1910 and 1960. It highlights three authors and stories set in Australia, England and an international school in order to explore what fiction offers in getting “inside” the classroom.

Findings

Developed from a conference keynote that explored intersecting and contested histories of education, the paper sets up as many questions as it provides answers but re-frames them to include the use of a genre that has been explored by historians of childhood and literature but less so by historians of education.

Research limitations/implications

The vast quantity of stories set in girls’ schools between 1910 and 1960 necessarily demands a selective reading. Authors may specialise in the genre or be general young people’s fiction authors. Reading such stories must necessarily be set against changing social, cultural and political contexts. This paper uses examples from the genre in order to explore ways forward but cannot include an exhaustive methodology for reasons of space.

Practical implications

This paper suggests fiction as a way of broadening the remit of history of education and acting as a bridge between related sub-disciplines such as history of childhood and youth, history and education. It raises practical implications for historians of education as they seek new approaches and understanding of the process of informal education outside the classroom.

Social implications

This paper suggests that the authors should take more seriously the impact of children’s reading for pleasure. Reception studies offer an insight into recognising the interaction that children have with their chosen reading. While the authors cannot research how children interacted historically with these stories in the mid-twentieth century, the authors can draw implications from the popularity of the genre and the significance of the legacy of the closed school community that has made series such as Harry Potter so successful with the current generation.

Originality/value

The marginal place of history of education within the disciplines of history and education is both challenging and full of possibilities. The paper draws on existing international debates and discusses future directions as well as the potential that girls’ school stories offer for research into gender and education.

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 47 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 November 2020

Luxi Chen and Yiqing Su

This paper examines China's historiography on foreign education since 1900, with an emphasis on the period since 1949. The understanding of “foreign education” in China…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines China's historiography on foreign education since 1900, with an emphasis on the period since 1949. The understanding of “foreign education” in China during this period shifted rapidly from the Western-centered approach that had been introduced from Japanese during the late Qing dynasty and the Republic of China to the Soviet-centered approach that followed the founding of New China to a restoration of Western-centered approaches after the “opening” of the late 1970s and 1980s. The paper asks: how has the study of foreign educational history changed over time in the People's Republic of China, how has the broader discipline of history of education changed, and how have successive generations of historians of education conceived of their intellectual and political roles?

Design/methodology/approach

Grounded in archival documents and the published works of influential historians of education, this study notes the ways in which political regime change affected the construction and application of academic knowledge.

Findings

This study identifies four stages in the Chinese historiography on foreign education: a formative stage (from 1900 until the late 1940s); a difficult post-revolutionary recovery, followed by growth and then suppression (from 1949 until the mid-1970s); a period of achievement combined with an academic crisis (from 1978 until the early 2000s); and finally, a recent transition marked by theoretical innovation and global integration (from the 2000s until the present).

Originality/value

This study finds that a narrow focus on “practical utility” or service to politics and policy has perturbed historians of foreign education in China and stunted their field's development. A look back at early periods in the historiography offers a warning about the potential dangers of extreme ideological/political utilitarianism. These dangers existed not only in the history of foreign education but also in the history of education research more broadly. A close examination of these dangers can help twenty-first-century historians of education in China balance the practical, political and professional dimensions of their research. To grasp the meaning of foreign education, historical research needs to be politically independent.

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 50 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 December 2020

Wang Chen, Luo Wei and Wu Yuefei

This paper traces the incorporation of western educational histories in the development of normal-school curricula during the late Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper traces the incorporation of western educational histories in the development of normal-school curricula during the late Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China (1901–1944). It uses publication networks to show how the study of comparative educational history facilitated the international circulation of knowledge in the teaching profession, and how the “uses” of educational history were shaped by larger geopolitical forces.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper analyzes the international exchange of texts between normal schools in China and Japan and, subsequently, between normal schools in China and the United States. A database of 107 publications in the field of western educational history that were adopted in China reveals specific patterns of textual citation, cross-reference, and canon-formation in the field of educational historiography.

Findings

With conclusions derived from a combination of social network analysis and clustering analysis, this paper identifies three broad stages in China's development of normal-school curricula in comparative educational history: “Japan as Teacher,” “transitional period” and “America as Teacher.”

Research limitations/implications

Statistical analysis can reveal citation and reference patterns but not readers' understanding of the deeper meaning of texts – in this case, textbooks on the subject of western educational history. In addition, the types of publications analyzed in this study are relatively limited, the articles on the history of education in journals have not become the main objects of this study.

Originality/value

This paper uses both quantitative and qualitative methods to uncover the transnational circulation of knowledge in the field of comparative educational history during its formative period in China.

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 50 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 August 2021

Matilda Keynes and Beth Marsden

This paper introduces key themes and debates in education and educational history that engage education's complicity in injustice and violence, as well as those that…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper introduces key themes and debates in education and educational history that engage education's complicity in injustice and violence, as well as those that continue to position education as a vehicle for positive change and possibility. The paper introduces the papers that comprise the special issue “Challenges of Contested Spaces: Constructing Difference and its Legacies in Educational History”.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper canvasses pertinent historiographical, theoretical and methodological debates that shed light on education's dual capacity to empower and oppress.

Findings

Papers in this collection reveal the many ways that agendas justified in the name of education, training and reform have often invoked that name as justification for actions that harmed, discriminated or oppressed, and yet also, how despite this, education can still be imagined as a space of possibility and transformation.

Originality/value

The paper offers a summative introduction to the themes and papers of the special issue.

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 50 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 9 October 2019

Linda Chisholm

Abstract

Details

Teacher Preparation in South Africa
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-694-7

Article
Publication date: 1 June 2015

Sherman Dorn

– The purpose of this paper is to explore the professional dilemmas of historians of education in the USA.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the professional dilemmas of historians of education in the USA.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses historiographical analysis.

Findings

While some aspects of both “prophet” and “fool” cultural archetypes fit some historians of education, neither archetype is a useful model for discussing the possible professional positions and roles of new scholars. Instead, “border-crossing” is an appropriate metaphor for new scholars in the history of education.

Originality/value

This manuscript addresses a topic of concern to many historians of education in multiple countries. It moves beyond material concerns of intellectuals to discuss the cultural archetypes that may be at play.

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 44 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 October 2022

Joel Barnes and Tamson Pietsch

The purpose of this article is to introduce the themed section of History of Education Review on “The History of Knowledge and the History of Education”, comprising four…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to introduce the themed section of History of Education Review on “The History of Knowledge and the History of Education”, comprising four empirical articles that together seek to bring the history of education into fuller dialogue with the approaches and methods of the nascent field of the history of knowledge.

Design/methodology/approach

This introductory article provides a broad overview of the history of knowledge for the benefit of historians of education, introduces the four themed section articles that follow, and draws out some of their overarching themes and concepts.

Findings

The history of knowledge concept of “arenas of knowledge” emerges as generative across the themed section. Authors also engage with problems of the legitimacy of knowledges, and with pedagogy as practice. In addition, focusing on colonial and postcolonial contexts raises reflexive questions about history of knowledge approaches that have so far largely been developed in European and North American scholarship.

Originality/value

The history of education has not previously been strongly represented among the fields that have gone into the formation of the history of knowledge as a synthetic, interdisciplinary approach to historical studies. Nor have historians of education much engaged with its distinguishing concepts and methodologies. The themed section also extends the history of knowledge itself through its strong focus on colonial and postcolonial histories.

Book part
Publication date: 11 July 2019

Tanya Fitzgerald and Sally Knipe

In this chapter we have broadly sketched the educational history of Aotearoa New Zealand to show that this historical backdrop offers a fascinating insight into…

Abstract

In this chapter we have broadly sketched the educational history of Aotearoa New Zealand to show that this historical backdrop offers a fascinating insight into contemporary debates. In the following chapters we adopt a thematic approach to the history of teacher preparation in Aotearoa New Zealand. We do not offer an institutional or chronological historical narrative, but rather, the chapters are interconnected as they re-trace, recall and re-tell this educational history. Our core thesis is that across the long history of teacher preparation these themes permeate the shifts and changes in educational policy and practice and that ruptures at particular historical moments are not unique. We draw on a number of historical examples to underscore the oftentimes personal impact of the wider policy environment and the educational stories of aspiring teachers. Importantly, we have documented the methodological approaches employed and the archival research that has influenced our reading of the materials.

Details

Historical Perspectives on Teacher Preparation in Aotearoa New Zealand
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-640-0

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 23 November 2022

Simon Warren

This chapter explores the potential of transnational history for researching global higher education policy. It begins with an overview of transnational history as a…

Abstract

This chapter explores the potential of transnational history for researching global higher education policy. It begins with an overview of transnational history as a perspective, demonstrating how it is, in part, a response to processes of globalization that have also transformed contemporary higher education. Second, it reviews key features of transnational history as a perspective that can enhance global higher education policy research. The third part takes dimensions of contemporary global higher education and discusses how these can be approached through a transnational historical perspective drawing on the features outlined. The chapter concludes by highlighting how a transnational historical approach can enable new insights and research questions as well as some challenges presented by this perspective. The spatial focus of the chapter is predominantly European higher education, though the implications are more general.

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