tudy, teaching and research in the history of education

Volume 28 Number 1

Alison Mackinnon
Shaking the foundations: On the (im)possibility of writing a history of women in higher education.
For some years now I have been engaged in an exercise which seems increasingly fraught - writing a history (or histories) of women in higher education. Naively, I set out some years ago with the aim of writing a book titled `Gender and the Academy', one which I hoped would tell the story of the encounter between women and the academy in Australia from the time of their admission to universities in the late nineteenth century to the present day. There is no overall history of women in universities in Australia which compares with Barbara Solomon's major work on the USA, In the Company of Educated Women, or with Carol Dyhouse's No Distinction of Sex, which examines women in British universities from 1870 to 1939. Some historians of education have given considerable weight to issues around women's higher education. Marjorie Theobald, for instance, in her wide ranging and important history, Knowing Women, rightly saw women's higher education as (in Alice Zimmern's words) `the keystone in the arch' in any structure of new entitlement for women. Canadian historian Alison Prentice has written widely about women in Canadian universities, with a particular emphasis on historians and physicists.2 Yet, on the whole, this work is an exception and in most published works of university history women remain marginal - one or two entries in the index, a footnote here, an exceptional women there. One notable exception demands comment. W.J. Gardner's Colonial Cap and Gown was a leader in giving women equal billing in its exploration of the mid-Victorian Universities of Australasia.3 But such an example is rare. So what is to be done?

I have approached a history of women and the academy in several tangential ways - writing perhaps more about university women and their lives than of women in universities. This is an ongoing source of fascination to me as it is to many others. In an earlier book, The New Women, I wrote a collective biography of a group of early women graduates, hoping to distil an essence of shared experience, of a sense of what it meant to be a forerunner in this new pathway for women. In my subsequent book, Love and Freedom: professional women and the reshaping of personal life, I was drawn again to women's lives asking how the much desired and fought for higher education made a difference.4 Here, too, I looked for the broad changes in educated women's lives, issues of sexuality, of their changing patterns of marriage and child bearing, their increasing access to the labour market and the professions and, above all, the question of the construction of self. In this I think I was unconsciously following Theodore Zeldin's dictate that we should reinvent the past through the lens of the present: that we were no longer interested in kings and parliaments but in how we live life - in issues around sexuality and the passions. History, Zeldin claimed, was a series of meetings, of people trying to meet soul mates, or to meet God. What did it mean in these terms to be an educated woman with means of self-support? But the planned book, `Gender and the Academy', is still not written - at least not by me - although one of you may have the manuscript tucked away in your briefcase. And, increasingly, I wonder if such a book is possible.

Is it just a sense of the dimensions of the task that daunts me, or a sense of what can and cannot be written in late twentieth-century history? Since the 1980s history has been buffeted by a range of currents which have reordered the field, made some questions difficult to ask - other new questions imperative.5 Cultural history, postmodernism, the linguistic turn, postcolonialism, have all raised new and important questions, questions reflected in the theme of this conference - Voice, Vision and Identity. Grand narratives viewed from the perspective of the omniscient, all-seeing objective author are as dead as those stories told from the perspective of the Great Man. Any triumphalist story of progress is to be resisted, as are those which exclude the voices of vast numbers of humankind. There are many histories to be told of any set of circumstances. Further, the field of women's history (or feminist history - a central perspective for any work on women), has moved away from questions of universality to those of difference.6 We can no longer write a history of women as an undifferentiated group, even to the extent that this group, as a cohort, experienced similar educational and life patterns. Indeed, the concept of `experience' itself, so vital to early women's history has been problematised, and viewed as yet another level of representation, of text mediated through the filter of another. In American historian Joan Scott's now well-known formulation, `It is not individuals who have experience, but subjects who are constituted through experience.'7

Mark Poster offers challenging perspectives in his recent work. Looking at the antecedents of cultural history he argues that both political history and social history were `humanist to the bone', defining history as the free and determined acts of agency.8 `The individual' was taken for granted as someone who acted or to whom things happened. Any discourse that pretends to be critical of the prevailing order, call it `modern' or `capitalist' must, Poster proclaims, begin by putting this figure of the acting self into question. Further, in both the `old' political history and the `new' social history, the historian sought to attain the `truth' about the `real'. The records were taken as transparent mediations between the past and the present. Nothing interceded between the historian and the representation of the past: `Written traces were merely the occasion in which the gaze of the historian perceived directly the real that once was.'9

In Poster's view, the new cultural history has `upset this configuration of truth'. It often does so by resorting to poststructuralist interpretive strategies (such as those discussed in last year's presidential address by Malcolm Vick) and raising the issue of feminist and postcolonialist discourse. The topic of women, for example, may provide the occasion for re-examining the relation of the historian to the truth because women have been figured in Western history as other to the truth, outside, in Poster's words, `the couplet truth-real'. Women's historians searching the documents often find them an impediment to the truth, omitting women altogether or representing them in terms which are unrecognizable to women: whose voice, whose vision, whose identity is being represented, we then ask? Such a question has increasingly been posed from a postcolonial perspective, where groups who have been the object of the historical gaze insist on becoming the subject and authors of their own histories. As New Zealand historian Judith Binney acknowledges in the introduction to her impressive volume, Redemption Songs, there are competing understandings of the past: `the act of historical reconstruction allows different voices to speak; it reveals people in their own times and contexts, which are not our own and should not be seen to be like our own.'10 Binney sets out to make space for different voices, different visions, indeed, different identities.

As Poster and others have made clear, the question of truth claims is also a political question, for certain forms of discourse within the social sciences have become in the contemporary university and the welfare state, inextricably merged with structures of domination.11 We need only think of research which legitimated on very narrow grounds the concept of `maternal deprivation', thus deterring a generation of concerned women from active participation in the labour market.12 Conversely, using a post colonialist lens, Kalpana Ram and Margaret Jolly describe the harmful political effects of the anthropological construction of indigenous motherhood in Asia and the Pacific as `primitive' and `traditional', and of indigenous women as `lacking a maternal instinct', and being incompetent or lazy mothers.13 The political effects of these constitutions of the maternal subject are far from benign. And (let's also be totally pragmatic for a moment), the politics and economics of publishing in Australia and New Zealand scarcely encourage straightforward chronological histories unless strongly underpinned by the support of a particular university. It is not just opportunism to consider this point. What is the point of writing something which claims no audience or the very limited audience of a diminishing number of historians of education?14 And, as Mark Poster reminds us, technologies which reconfigure space and time and the relation of human to machine are drastically altering the conditions under which the subject is constituted, even the subject who writes history. He speaks of the `disintegration of bourgeois, literate culture and its replacement by massified visual culture'15 and of `the electronic textualisation of daily life.'16 The challenge, he believes, is `to write with an eye to a new context of globalising and virtualising communication practices', which will ultimately `alter the intellectual trends and the domain of culture.'17 How, in these circumstances, shall we talk about the configuration of identity? Whose past needs to be remembered in order to face more clearly the difficulties of today?18

Michael Marker
`That history is more a part of the present than it ever was in the past': Toward an ethnohistory of Native education.
While the past decade has seen a flourish of historical studies on First Nations residential schooling, most of this work has not acknowledged the problematic nature of portraying Indian-white relations. While ethnographic approaches have begun to guide historical inquiry in some areas, educational history has generally not utilized cross-cultural concepts. What are the missing pieces to these histories? Can we gain a broader and deeper perspective by illuminating the ways that cultural, political, and economic motivations were fused together to not only produce the policies of whites, but the resistances and accommodations of Natives? Most importantly, can we make the acknowledgement of this history a meaningful part of the dialogue on culture and identity that must inform our present educational policy?

A Musqueam friend and I were making a 40 mile drive from his reserve in Vancouver to the Lummi reservation in Washington state. He has lived in both communities and we talked reflectively about how the different educational histories of Musqueam and Lummi have created not only different attitudes about schooling, but a completely different feel to the character of the two places. In Canada, the church operated, government financed Native residential schools loom as defining themes in contrast to the United States where integration into the public schools has prevailed since the 1930s. As schooling creates impressions of society and self, the distinctiveness of both Lummi and Musqueam has been directed by two very different kinds of schooling experience and encounters with the dominant society. We were lamenting that the current discussions of Native education going on in institutions seldom factor in the unique local histories of Indian-white relations. Such histories are often seen as insignificant by educational administrators. Management people tend to see historical information as remote and segmented away in time; not practical for informing immediate policy concerns. But, from a Coastal Salish perspective, the past is a living and resonant part of the present. We began to talk specifically about the history of Lummi-white relations and the way schooling operated and continues to operate as the central arena of culture clash between Natives and whites. We shared our frustration about trying to get educators and administrators to acknowledge the contemporary significance of this history. It was in this spirit that my friend said to me, `what they don't understand is, that history is more a part of the present than it ever was in the past.'

What my Musqueam friend was saying was that when stories about the past are not acknowledged, or when they have been somehow suppressed, they can grow to become more powerful as unseen but animating forces in the present. In other words, the invisibility of formative and revealing historical narratives becomes the prevailing impediment to understanding the complex and deep meaning of aboriginal education. Stories of the past can grow in a certain kind of power when they are politically and culturally rejected as irrelevant to the present.

Our ability to grasp the themes of the history of Native education is dependent on our capacity to recognise real places and the stories which frame the meaning of those places. I want to emphasize that the recent history of First Nations education needs to be made manifest so that it can speak to the present moment. There are unsettling questions and tensions which we encounter as we engage with this history. These questions have to do with the ways we understand voice, who is telling the story, and the ways that language and meaning are understood in a uniquely local context. My ongoing research in the history of Lummi education provides an example of the ways these themes intersect. For Lummis, the language of educational possibility is derived from the local history of Indian-white relations.

Esther Faye
`The school is a miniature society': Libidinising Australian citizenship in the 1950s.
When Oscar A. Oeser, South African born social psychologist and first occupant of the University of Melbourne's chair of psychology, delivered his presidential address to the Education, Psychology and Philosophy Section of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science (ANZAAS) in 1954, he made this pronouncement. Social scientists, he said:
now have enough knowledge about the origins of social tensions, both within a group, and between groups, for bringing under control the violent manifestations of group hostility.1
Oeser's public avowal on behalf of social science was made the same year in which research into the social psychological factors underlying `the Australian way of life,' by staff and students of his department of psychology, was published as two largish volumes.2 This had been part of UNESCO's Social Tensions Project, its first major project after World War II. It was set up to investigate the conditions for social tensions in community life and was founded on the following principle (expressed in the `Preamble' to UNESCO's constitution): `that since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.'3 Australia was one of only four countries to have been chosen by UNESCO for this project (the others were Sweden, India and France), and Oeser, as Secretary of the Australian Social Science Research Committee (later Council), was put in charge of Australia's part in this collaborative exercise.4 Oeser's presidential address to ANZAAS was based on this experience, and he used it to argue against what he described as `a widely believed, but false, biological theory about the origin of man's propensity for waging war,' known popularly as the `drive to power.'5 He called instead on scientific evidence that presented a contrary view, that `co-operation is fundamental to the survival and even to the evolution of animal species,'6 and argued that if this were not the case societies would be naturally authoritarian and fascist. Arguing as well against the then current sociological-cum-anthropological concept of the `authoritarian personality' - at the time an influential concept which attributed any society's cultural forms to deep and intransigent structures of personality - Oeser insisted that science provided plenty of evidence that wars were not inevitable. Not only was the human personality created by `man himself,' but the kind of people we were, according to Oeser's science, was largely the outcome of how society had defined our social roles; more specifically, of how we conducted the interpersonal relations of our group life. And he went on to make another ambitious claim: that the human sciences, in particular his speciality of social psychology, now had sufficient knowledge about these interpersonal relations:
to begin to reconstruct the world of societies in response to man's social needs as profoundly as we have reconstructed the physical world in response to man's physical needs.7
Anticipating World War Three, which appeared to this social scientist as well as to many others at the time to be an imminent threat, Oeser pinned his hopes for peace on the potency of such scientific knowledge. `[T]here is only one way out,' he declared: `to extend, disseminate and apply the knowledge social science could provide about group relations `here and now: to families, schools, factories, parliaments.' For democracy, he concluded, whether it be in `government or in education,' could `be learnt only through experience.'

What I want to do in this article is discuss some of the ideas about collective life implicit in Oeser's address to his Australian scientific peers in 1954, ideas which appear to have been premised on a profound belief in the ability of the social sciences to teach human societies how to function as democracies. I also want to consider some of the ways these ideas, and in particular what it was that differentiated the psychological conditions for harmony and social cohesion in liberal democratic societies from those specific to totalitarian regimes, were disseminated and extended by social psychologists into Australian schools in the 1950s. It almost goes without saying that Oeser was not alone amongst his Australian peers in thinking that this moment (immediately after World War II) was a critical one for liberal democracies. In the context of emerging Cold War tensions and the beginnings of mass migration to Australia, for many liberal intellectuals in Australia it was `the Australian way of life' which seemed most under threat, and they warned that its `miracle' could not and should not be taken for granted.9 K.S. Cunningham, for example, Chairman of the Social Science Research Committee of Australia and Director of the Australian Committee for Educational Research, had this to say in 1951, in a book which followed from a similar kind of investigation to that conducted by Oeser and his colleagues: `in the confusion of the present day no greater problem exists than that of retaining sufficiently that sense of social cohesion commonly found in stable forms of society.'10

The chief question this article will address, therefore, is why social psychological ideas - principally those founded on the belief that collective life could be so organised that individuals could live together harmoniously - began to be `applied' to Australian schools in the 1950s. Why it was that certain social psychological ideas about the nature and dynamics of `the group' were used at this time by educationalists and psychologists to re-conceive the school as a `miniature society,' one in which pupils either learned or failed to learn democracy through experience. My interest in this question was triggered by an insistence I noted in the language that was used to disseminate this view of the school as a miniature society. The repetition of such terms as `hostility', `aggression', `authoritarian', `frustration', `love', `attraction', `cooperation', `citizenship' in this language, function, I believe, as anchoring points, as foundational metaphors, if you like, for a utopian but none-the-less practical program of `training for democracy.' This program involved the attempt by psychologists and educationalists in post-war Australia to re-fashion young people at the level of those emotions they were deemed necessarily to experience when they came together with others in groups. I want to conclude my examination of this 1950s project by raising some questions of how we today, in the context of what could be described as a similar crisis for liberal democracy in Australia, should think about the ideals implicit then in social psychology's ideas about collective life, and about the practical program of re-conceptualisation and reform that was sustained by them. I want to ask whether we can really afford to discard such ideals as the imaginary fictions they so obviously are, or whether we might judge there to be serious grounds for holding onto such fictions, for continuing to believe in them despite our awareness of their fictive status. Whether, indeed, we should agree with Oeser when he proclaimed that `there is only one way out,' that some fictions, such as those disseminated by social psychology in the 1950s, are in fact necessary fictions, which function in the same way as does the psychoanalytic concept of `the Name of the Father,' according to the Lacanian social theorist Slavoj Zizek: as a necessary and `noble lie.'11

Greg Ryan
`A dragon with claws which feeds on the young': The reaction against rugby in the New Zealand secondary schools 1920-30.
On the afternoon of 21 September 1920 the New Zealand House of Representatives went into recess to allow Members to attend the first final of the Moascar Cup, an inter-secondary school rugby competition. At the end of a torrid encounter in which Christchurch Boys' High School defeated Palmerston North Boys' High School, the Cup was presented to the victors by the Prime Minister, W.F. Massey.1

The intense interest surrounding the final was such that a special meeting of the Manawatu Rugby Football Union was immediately called in Palmerston North to consider lodging a protest against the crucial refereeing decision which had decided the match. A motion was passed stating that as the decision was contrary to the special rules for Moascar Cup games, both schools should be bracketed as winners. The Union also extended an invitation to Christchurch for a rematch - an offer which, although willingly accepted, came to nothing.2

During the following two seasons large crowds attended Moascar Cup matches as schools battled to find a North Island and a South Island representative for the final. Competition was strenuous. The 1921 fixture between Auckland Grammar School and St Patrick's College left three players in hospital.3 Yet by 1925, only five years after its inception, the Cup was consigned to relative obscurity, serving only as the focus for the annual fixture between Palmerston North Boys' High School and Te Aute College.4

The rise and fall of the Moascar Cup during the early 1920s, and a similar controversy surrounding the annual Christ's College and Christchurch Boys' High School fixture during the same period, is symptomatic of a broader debate, evident in Britain, Australia and New Zealand, about the role of sport in the secondary school curriculum. The appearance of the Moascar Cup in 1920 was testimony to the formalisation of school sport, and especially team sport, from the 1880s onwards and to the recognition that athletic endeavor generally was vital to the physical and moral well-being of the student. It was also further confirmation that rugby was entrenched as the `national game' of New Zealand. But the subsequent career of the Cup, and the battle fought by E.C. Crosse during his decade as Headmaster of Christ's College, demonstrates that by the early 1920s there were tensions within the schools between proponents of athleticism and others who felt that it was detrimental both to those involved and to the wider school community. Critics of excesses in schools rugby raised four issues. Firstly, it was felt that the traditional notion of inter-school sport as friendly rivalry had been subverted into a highly competitive and sometimes volatile spectacle which placed a damaging burden of expectation on the boys involved. Secondly, those who viewed the school as a private domain serving a purely educational purpose sought to resist the notion that it had an obligation to include the public in its proceedings. The key point here was whether school fixtures ought to be played on school or public grounds. Thirdly, there was a particular fear that excessive competition and public interest in it would encourage an undesirable financial element, in terms of both the spectre of gambling on the outcome of matches and the intent of some rugby administrators to derive large profits from admission charges to them. Finally, there was a concern that the range of abilities and interests, cultural, academic or athletic, of the school community as a whole were not recognised or catered for amid public adulation for the talented few. While these issues had a certain applicability throughout New Zealand, they were most pronounced in Christchurch. For not only did Christchurch Boys' High School win the first two Moascar Cup finals, but their fixture with Christ's College had always enjoyed a high profile within the city.

The rise of school rugby (1870-1920)
The curriculum of the elite New Zealand boys' secondary schools5 placed a strong emphasis on the utility of sport. From the last third of the nineteenth century onwards, a succession of headmasters and teachers, most of them trained in the English public school and Oxbridge tradition, devoted considerable time and energy to developing sporting facilities, hiring well qualified professional coaches and using sport as the cradle for their moral rhetoric.6

The connection between schools and rugby could not have been more intimate. The very first game in New Zealand was played at Nelson College in 1870. The first inter-school fixture, between Nelson and Wellington College, was played in 1876. By the end of the century a number of fixtures were well established. Christ's College met Otago Boys' High School for the first time in 1883, Wellington College in 1884 and Christchurch Boys' High School in 1892. It was also involved in an annual triangular tournament with Wellington and Wanganui Collegiate School from 1890. By 1910 various schools were in the habit of making lengthy tours through the country.7 A South Island schools tournament between Christchurch, Otago, Timaru and Southland Boys' High schools was instituted in 1915 and a South Island Technical Colleges tournament followed soon after.8

Daphne Meadmore
Turning the gaze on itself: Examining the `Scholarship'.
The examination is a modern technology which is increasingly pervasive and intrusive in many spheres of activity, not least of which is education. Indeed the examination in `all its visible brilliance' warrants historical investigation in order to examine `its rituals, its methods, its characters and their roles, its play of questions and answers, its systems of marking and classification,' all of which are manifested through its panopticised `gaze'.1 One theorist who has specifically targeted the examination for historical analysis, Michel Foucault, not only calls for the examination in all its various guises to be made the subject and object of investigation but also offers an analysis of power and its effects to explain how individuals are produced through such individuating practices.

An examination of a particular examination, the State Scholarship Examination, commonly known as the `Scholarship', provides an opportunity to afford this mundane but powerful technology the kind of attention it deserves. The Scholarship was a public examination in Queensland which effectively operated as a gate-keeper to secondary education from 1873 to 1962. The research focus in this paper is the period from the post-war 1940s to the early 1960s. These decades presented new dilemmas in terms of the social administration of unprecedented large numbers of pupils in schools, a situation which had to be balanced against new agendas of state building. How this particular technology was flexibly and expediently used as an effective `government'2 tactic until it finally outlived its usefulness can be analysed by turning the gaze upon itself. In so doing, this paper specifically applies a Foucauldian reading of the Scholarship to determine how it worked.

In order to demonstrate the productive effects of the Scholarship, this study draws mainly, but not exclusively, on the wealth of material published in the Queensland Teachers' Journal (QTJ).3 Teachers contributed articles to this monthly publication, often using pseudonyms to protect their identity from perceived incrimination from their employer, the state education bureaucracy. By directly drawing on such material, the paper seeks to present the Scholarship in the logic and spirit of the different `regimes of truth'4 which supported it and which eventually caused its abolition.