tudy, teaching and research in the history of education

Volume 35 Issue 2VOLUME 35 NUMBER 2

Heil Mary: Magdalen asylums and moral regulation in Ireland
Brian Titley - The University of Lethbridge, Alberta

Between the 1830s and 1990s, thousands of Irish women were incarcerated without due  process in magdalen asylums for sexual behaviour that violated the Catholic Church’s moral code. The asylums were operated by congregations of nuns that sought to protect society from the contagion of “wayward” women while simultaneously attempting to reform them through a harsh regimen of laundry work and devotional rituals. Some penitents, as the inmates were often called, embraced the institutional life of labour and prayer with such sincerity that they advanced to the nun-like status of the Sisters Magdalen. Most simply endured lives of drudgery indistinguishable from slavery until either death or release upon the intervention of relatives. The asylum system had no basis in law and its shadowy existence, its ability to avoid scrutiny or regulation, and its survival until very recent times, illustrate in a striking manner the hegemonic power of the Church in Ireland.

Picturing the History of Teacher Education: photographs and methodology
Malcolm Vick and Fay Gasparini - James Cook University, Queensland

Pictures are routinely identified as possible sources for researching history yet they are widely either neglected or underused. This article explores the use of pictorial materials, in particular photographs, in historical analysis. It describes some common, or standard, uses of photographs in historical writing, and critically discusses them. It identifies and examines methodological and ethical issues in using photographs as evidence. And it draws on a current project which is using a rich body of photographs as an integral part of its analysis of the history of one educational institution to explore these issues

The Progressive Credentials of Patrick Henry Pearse: a response to David Limond
Brendan Walsh - National University of Ireland, Maynooth

This article suggests that Patrick Pearse’s thought and work was rooted in the child-centred movement of the late nineteenth-century, was informed by the tenets of progressivism and predated the work of later influential educational thinkers. It is further argued that Pearse developed a unique conceptualisation of schooling as a radical form of political and cultural dissent in pre-1916 Ireland. Aspects of Pearse’s thought that are evidently problematic are highlighted and the article suggests that discussions of his work might benefit from moving to these more substantial and germane areas.

Rewriting the Responsible Parent
Wayen S McGowan - The University of Western Australia

This paper is derived from a larger study that explored how the rationality of freedom became inscribed in educational practices that shaped and reshaped limits that constitute the responsible parent.  Here, I draw on part of the study to diagnose how romantic discourse on childhood, which rewrote religious and secular discourse in the eighteenth century, was refashioned in the nineteenth century to rewrite the responsible parent.  In this historical inquiry, I follow Foucault’s lead and analyse thoughts of freedom not as a value that we cannot live without or an illusion that hides the truth of our oppression but as a political tool for producing the ‘other’ as a means of inciting the autonomous parent to recognise the self as an ethical subject responsible for educating the child.  What this exposes is how the writing and rewriting of the responsible parent in terms of educating the child within liberal government is reliant on fabricating ‘otherness’ as a threat to freedom.

The Voices of the Junior Teachers: Exploitation or experience in South Australian schools 1931-1945?
Anthony McGuire

This article argues that memoirs from within a humanistic sociological framework can provide a measure of balance sometimes lacking in accounts reliant entirely on contemporary documentation. Evidence from the case brought in 1943 against the junior teacher system in South Australian schools, while persuasive,   provides practically the only evidence for any subsequent history of the period.  Memoirs of former junior teachers from this time, however, present quite different views on several of the major charges against the system and generally illustrate certain benefits in lengthy periods of practical experience. Juxtaposing these accounts provides for a better balanced and more useful account of a generally neglected period of educational history.  Such a re-visioning is timely in view of increasingly widespread concern about the practical side of teacher training and calls from within training circles for a significantly longer introduction of trainees to the realities of the classroom. 

Funding made available through the Whitfield Fellowship from the University of Western Australia supported the writing of this paper.