tudy, teaching and research in the history of education

VOLUME 34 NUMBER 1

Excerpt from Bernadette Baker - University of Wisconsin Madison, US
From the Genius of the Man to the Man of Genius, Part One: A Slippery Subject

Volume 34 Issue01Asking what makes the term genius available to a modern imaginary, to populational reasoning, to describing a child, to organising gifted education presumes that there is a history to be told. Currently available histories of genius have not generally emerged in relation to the fields - political philosophy, disability studies, history of childhood, or history of education - that this asking implies. Anglophone histories of genius have appeared most commonly in studies of medieval and classical European poetics, especially love and romance stories, in studies of sectarianism such as mapping Pagan, Christian, Judaic, and Islamic moralities, in relation to histories of sexuality, and in histories of discipline-specific skills, such as writing, art, and music.
The two articles that comprise this analysis springboard from the availability and increased popularity of the term genius to nineteenth and twentieth century educational scholars and its (temporary) location along a continuum of mindedness that was relatively new (i.e., as opposite to insanity). Three generations of analysis playfully structure the argument, taking form around the gen- root’s historical association with tropes of production and reproduction. Of particular interest in the analysis is how subject-formation, including perceptions of non-formation and elusivity, occurs. I examine this process of (non)formation within and across key texts on genius, especially in relation to their narrative structures, key binaries and sources of authority that collectively produce and embed specific cosmologies and their moral boundaries.

Excerpt from Pip Lynch - Lincoln University, New Zealand
Educational ‘Traditions’ and School ‘Topics’: Outdoor Education in New Zealand Schools, 1935-1965.

Outdoor education was first included in the formal (written) curriculum for New Zealand schools in 1999. This article explores New Zealand outdoor education as a product of a particular coincidence of social and economic conditions and the contested domains of pedagogy and curriculum during the period 1935-1965. Popkewitz, among others, views school curricula and associated practices as emerging from ‘systems of ideas that inscribe styles of reasoning, standards and conceptual distinctions’ which ‘shape and fashion interpretation and action’. It is these ‘systems of ideas’, or ‘traditions’ in Goodson and Marsh’s terms, that provide a framework for understanding outdoor education in New Zealand schools. Since the 1930s, outdoor education in New Zealand appears to have consolidated from and been shaped by competing educational ideologies and changing social and economic influences. The way in which it accommodated competing traditions is the focus of this, necessarily broad, analysis.

Excerpt from Hilda T.A. Amsing- University of Groningen, the Netherlands
Modern versus classical education: the Dutch case 1863-1917

The position of the relatively new non-classical education as opposed to traditional classical education was the subject of intense discussion in the Netherlands from the second half of the nineteenth century onwards. The Dutch case was not unique, however. In Western Europe the traditional form of secondary education, with Greek and Latin as key subjects, long retained its dominant status. The classical languages were considered essential if sons of the elite were to become civilised men with disciplined minds, a refined sense of human cultural values and a coherent general education. This educational ideal - culture générale in France and Bildung in Germany - embraced the classics at the expense of professional expertise and knowledge about modern society. A focus on commerce and technology was considered inferior. The Bildung ideal rejected practicality and purposeful work in favour of leisured cultivation and aesthetic interests. Yet modern education slowly grew in status, and non-classical schools sought to gain greater dominance in the school system.

Excerpt from Jo May - University of Newcastle, Australia
A child of change: the establishment of the Open Foundation Programme in 1974

The Open Foundation is a tertiary access programme for mature age students. It was established at the University of Newcastle, Australia, in 1974. Today the Open Foundation is one of the oldest and largest access programmes in Australia with over a thousand students each year. While there have been some educational, mainly quantitative studies about the programme, there have been none from an historical perspective. The article explores the layers of context for the establishment of the Open Foundation in the early 1970s. Why, when the University of Newcastle already provided the means for mature entry, did it seek to widen participation for adults at that time? The article concludes that the establishment of the Open Foundation reflected changing ideas about the role of the university in society and the value and use of knowledge in communities, epitomised in the early 1970s by the establishment of the Open University in the United Kingdom. The lineage of the Open Foundation at the University of Newcastle can be traced almost directly to the Open University half a world away.

Excerpt from David Limond - Trinity College, Ireland
The Schoolmaster of all Ireland: The Progressive Credentials of Patrick Henry Pearse [1879-1916]

Patrick Pearse’s status in Ireland today oscillates between the iconic and kitsch: he was recently voted by readers of a newspaper as the person whom they would most like to see commemorated by a statue or monument in central Dublin (though this proposal has not met with universal approval even with that publication’s staff and as one of the most important Irish heroes by readers of another paper. But it also possible to buy chess piece like statuettes or figurines of this national hero in tourist souvenir shops as one might buy model or tin soldiers. However, Pearse has consistently, and often fulsomely, been praised for his educational work and ideas, even by those who are otherwise critics, being described by one as ‘stimulating and, for Ireland at least, novel’ in this respect. What can perhaps best be described as the received view of Pearse is summed up thus by Séamas Ó Buachalla, the most prominent and consistent latter-day advocate of Pearse’s progressive credentials: ‘By any criteria, his educational work was significant, original, extensive and progressive’. While it is true that his work was significant - significant enough, for good or ill, to be under discussion some eighty years later - and while it is true that he wrote extensively on educational topics, the claim that he was original and/or progressive is less obviously justified. Pearse has been described as ‘world famous in Ireland’ but he is largely unknown elsewhere. In what follows I shall argue that, neither in theory nor practice, was Pearse truly a progressive educationalist or educator. I shall argue further that the evidence for his being such is slim and has been consistently misrepresented. I shall suggest that, with the exception of the field of language learning, Pearse’s only interest in progressive methods lay in their use as a patina with which to glaze his actual concern: education in and for a proto-fascistic, masculinist version of Irish national identity. A sugaring of the pill he believed all Ireland’s boys must be made to swallow. But from this much alone it may not yet be obvious why I think Pearse and his legacy need urgent critical re-interpretation. I shall make that case in due course, but first I shall sketch the relevant historical background.