These lectures analyse the historical development of state-run systems of public schooling in Europe, North America and Asia, focusing especially on the relationship between education and the formation of a self-consciously ‘national’ citizenry. Much public discussion of education today – whether in Japan or overseas – focuses primarily on its role in teaching ‘useful’ skills, or facilitating social mobility. However, examining the origins and histories of national education systems reveals the extent to which these were designed with the aim of controlling societies undergoing rapid change. Beginning with an examination of educational thought and practice in pre-modern societies (in China, Japan and Europe), the course charts the emergence of modern schooling first in Europe, then in America and East Asia. Among the issues discussed are the role played by European (and Japanese) imperialism in the worldwide spread of modern systems of schooling, the relationship between schools and the place of women in modern societies, and the centrality of education to visions of ‘socialist’ modernity in the Soviet Union, China and elsewhere.
Lecturer: Dr. Edward Vickers, Dept of Education