Memories and Public Celebrations of Education in Contemporary Times

Marta Brunelli's picture
Call for Papers
September 30, 2017

Call for papers – Special Issue of «History of Education & Children’s Literature» n. 1, 2019: «Memories and Public Celebrations of Education in Contemporary Times»

This monographic issue – which intends to continue the line of research introduced by the international symposium «School Memories. New Trends in Historical Research into Education: Heuristic Perspectives and Methodological Issues» (Seville, 22-23 September 2015) – aims to focus on the multifaceted representation of the school as an institution, and of schooling as a mass phenomenon, which was offered in the past, and is still offered today, by the public celebrations promoted on the basis of precise politics of memory. On the other hand, it also intends to explore the socio-cultural dynamics which oversee the commemoration of the figures and the thought of educationalists, as well as of teachers and their educational role. In this sense, the new perspective with which past schooling is observed, may allow expanding the heuristic prospects of the history of education, safeguarding its historiographical dimension, and overcoming the temptation to resort to alternative interpretive paradigms. The purpose of this dossier is therefore to offer the international scientific community of educational historians a first in-depth reflection concerning this specific new area of research, by defining its general theoretical coordinates and by offering precise methodological criteria for its correct historiographical overview.


The monographic issue will focus primarily on five thematic fields of reference, through which it is possible to investigate the fundamental articulations of the public memory of the school.
- Funeral Memories: this thematic area brings together the many forms of public commemoration of the protagonists of schooling and education, both at a local and national level, which were promoted by families, friends and citizens not only as a fulfilment of a private obligation but also as a public tribute aimed to highlight the role that these figures played for the civil and cultural progress of the society. In this scenario, tombstones and funerary epitaphs, commemorative brochures printed by committees for the funerals of deceased teachers, funeral orations, obituaries appearing in newspapers and educational magazines are elevated to being privileged sources and objects of investigation.

- Places of memory: this thematic area is based on the concepts (respectively processed by French historian Pierre Nora and British anthropologist Paul Connerton) of lieu de mémoire or place of memory intended as a material or symbolic space capable of generating collective memories, on the one hand; and, on the other, of the memory of places understood as the memory inspired by a physical presence in certain places. Even though public monuments are not usually dedicated to the commemoration of the past of the school (especially if compared to other collective phenomena, such as war), however a range of places can fulfil this task such as: historical school buildings in general; old rural and mountain school houses; again, all those places where extraordinary educational experiences took place (for example: the first Montessori’s Children’s Houses in Rome); and, finally, the school-museums. These, and other places, can be investigated for the image of a past school which they convey.

- Stone Memories: this thematic area aims to determine which memory and image of schooling and of teaching as a profession, has been promoted over the years by public institutions through the use of commemorative plaques, statues and busts on display inside and outside public buildings, and finally the place names dedicated to educationalists, educators and teachers.

- Politics of Memory: this subject area reconstructs the dynamics and the criteria by virtue of which the school was perceived as deserving public commemoration by the institutions. This topic can be explored, as concerns the anniversaries of historic events related to public education (anniversaries of the institution of school orders and fundamental public education reforms, university jubilees, etc.), as well as large celebrations and important national occasions. In this regard, sources and subject of the research are represented by the issuance of celebration stamps or commemorative coins, the naming of streets and squares as well as awards, medals, decorations and certificates of merit conferred by the public authorities in order to recognise the high social and cultural role of schools and teachers within the national community.

- Invention of educational tradition: this thematic area is based on applying the historiographical category, developed by Eric Hobsbawm, of the “invention of tradition” to those educational institutions which were mostly affected by deep and radical changes during the contemporary age and consequently had to cope with the need to strongly legitimise their own role, prerogatives and functions. It was within such historical and cultural context, in fact, that higher education institutions, colleges and universities artificially attempted to attribute historical significance to their founding myth in order to boast a lengthy educational tradition capable of ranking them as prestigious and exclusive educational places in the collective imagination.


By 30th September 2017, each author must submit a draft of an article in English, using the attached submission form. This form must be sent to the email address:
By 30th November 2017, each author will be notified the outcome concerning the preliminary assessment and whether the submitted articles have been accepted or rejected.
The subsequent deadline for submitting the final papers, written in English according to the editorial standards of the journal and not longer than 7,000 words (including footnotes, references, tables and captions), is scheduled for 30th September 2018.
Both the drafts and the final articles will be subjected to anonymous peer review, according to the journal’s standards; the Editor will appoint a specific peer-review committee consisting of nationally and internationally renowned scholars with proven expertise in the various thematic areas of this call for papers.
By 30th November 2018, the editors of the issue will notify the authors of any amendments to be made to their contributions, which must be returned by 31st January 2019.

Submission Form

The submission form for preparing a structured abstract, will be available in the journal's website:

Editorial guidelines

The journal’s editorial guidelines (in English and Italian) can be downloaded from the journal's website:

Contact Info: 

Roberto Sani - Full Professor of History of Education at the University of Macerata (Italy), and Editor of the international journal "History of Education & Children's Literature" published by the Macerata University press.

Contact Email: