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CALL FOR PAPERS, ANZHES CONFERENCE 11-13 December 2024Truth Telling in Histories of Education

The ANZHES Executive Committee is pleased to announce that the 2024 ANZHES Conference will be held at the University of Melbourne, from 11-13 December 2024.

 In a tribute to the late, esteemed Yolŋu elder, Dr Yunupiŋu, anthropologist and geographer Marcia Langton recalled his observation that ‘Like a fire, the truth burns … That’s how we know it is the truth.’ (Langton, ‘Energy, Power, Strength: Dr Yunupingu’, The Monthly, May 2023). In this penetrating analogy, Dr Yunupiŋu conveyed the feeling provoked by reinterpretation, by considering evidence and testimony that is uncomfortable, painful, or once judged better left unwritten. We are living through a such a moment in the history of education. Institutions are confronting difficult histories. The names of once-esteemed individuals are being removed from buildings, their statues toppled or installed upside down. Ideas once seen as progressive have come under fresh scrutiny, educational practices recognised as colonialist, racist, gendered. The means by which University collections have been assembled, and their continued right to hold them are challenged. Questions are raised about the source of money for philanthropic gifts to schools and universities. Truth telling is fraught with consequences: does it burn down, illuminate or promote new growth in different directions?

Taking Dr Yunupiŋu’s observation as a prompt, this conference invites papers that explore the friction sparked by truth telling reinterpretation of the past. What methods are needed to write this new history? What voices must be heard and how are they to be interpreted? How do we do justice to the legacies of those from the past? How are we to grapple with the reaction that reinterpretation provokes? What more are historians of education obliged to do with new stories?

Historians of education, those interested in contested histories, historians of place, heritage and collections, are invited to reflect on these questions, and also reflect on ways in which from the friction created by the clash of conflicting perspectives, perhaps new agreement can be reached.

Papers could range from (but are not limited to)

  • Contested ideas of education
  • Ideas of progress and its different interpretations
  • Colonialism and education
  • Public histories of education
  • Digital histories of education
  • Place in educational Institutions
  • Memory and nostalgia, and emotional connection in education
  • The relationship between education and museums, collections and education
  • Restitution, repatriation, reparation and education

Abstract submissions: please send abstracts of 350 words by 30 August 2024

James Waghorne: [email protected]

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