Since the 19th century, many countries have striven for universal education as a means to ‘shape’ people into loyal and obedient citizens; a process which can be seen as part of ‘social engineering’. One particular form of education is the boarding school. Various forms of boarding schools existed: from ‘elite’ institutes providing the offspring of high-class people an education and consolidating the social status of the pupil, to boarding schools for indigenous children in (former) settler colonies in which an European episteme was forced upon the pupils. A commonality within the broad spectrum of boarding schools was the assumption that through the isolation from some aspects of society, such as parents or peers, pupils would be molded into subjects that would easily be assimilated into a section of society that their education ‘prepared’ them for.
This conference (and resulting publication) aims to understand the mechanisms and outcomes of boarding and residential schools in the socialization of children and youth during the 19th and 20th centuries from different backgrounds, social status, age, gender, nationality, religiosity, and ethnicity within a global perspective. The primary focus of the conference will be on the participants of boarding and residential schools, and the social and/or pedagogical processes resulting in inclusion and/or exclusion. We are particularly interested in analyzing processes such as those: which led to the participation of teachers and pupils in schooling; or, the shaping of instruction by headmasters, politicians, or parents; or, the manipulation of educational environments to suit participants’ needs; as well as those processes that facilitated the resisting of the imposed episteme and/or material constructs. Building from the focus upon individuals, we will examine through historical examples to what extent the processes of exclusive inclusion succeeded/failed in practice. In this regard, we are particularly interested in how daily practices and personal experiences corresponded with or differed from normative concepts of religion, gender, class, nationality, and ‘race’/ethnicity.
We invite contributions from scholars of different historical fields such as history of education, childhood and youth, social and gender history, history of religion and race, and global and transnational history. Papers can focus on main issue of the conference, but also the following aspects:
- Theories of inclusion/exclusion: Can the terms inclusion/exclusion can be used as analytical concepts? If so, how.
- Methods of reading sources and ‘voice from below’: How can voices of the pupils and their parents be uncovered? What methodological issues are attached to using ego-documents such as diaries and letters, or school publications? If such documents don’t exist, how can we ‘reading against the grain’ to uncover lost voices in the educational landscape?
- Spatial entanglement perspective: How can an examination of entangled spaces provide insight into the flow of pedagogical ideas, practices and expectations in multidirectional ways in relation to boarding schools?
- Contribution to historical debates on the value of schooling: How does a focus on boarding schools in different spatial and temporal settings contribute to academic and political debates on the relationship between schools and societal norms in general?
If you are interested in participating, please send an abstract of 250–300 words and a short bio-graphical note to firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 July 2020.
There is no conference fee, and we intend to cover all accommodation costs and most meals, pending the availability of funds. We also offer travel grants to participating scholars, particularly to those without institutional resources to cover travel expenses. If international travel is not permitted in November we will switch to a digital format.
Questions regarding the conference may be directed at any time to:
PD Dr. Felicity Jensz, Cluster of Excellence Religion and Politics, The University of Münster, Germany (email@example.com)
Dr. Daniel Gerster, Department of History, The University of Münster, Germany (firstname.lastname@example.org)
PD Dr. Felicity Jensz, Cluster of Excellence Religion and Politics, The University of Münster, Germany