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Education > History of Education

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Public Education in New Mexico Cover

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Public Education in New Mexico

John B. Mondragón, Ernest S. Stapleton

This examination of key issues in New Mexico public education emphasizes policies and trends that will remain dominant in shaping schools and curricula in the state. Educational reform is a constant in New Mexico, as is the influence of politics since nearly one-half of the state's budget goes to education. But several other significant themes emerge. The vignettes included throughout the text are included to offer human interest touches to our New Mexico story.

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A Question of Justice

New South Governors and Education, 1968-1976

Written by Gordon E. Harvey

Three trailblazers for education reform in the Sunbelt South.

In southern politics, 1970 marked a watershed. A group of southern governors entered office that year and changed both the way the nation looked at the South and the way the constituents of those states viewed themselves. Reubin Askew in Florida, John West in South Carolina, Jimmy Carter in Georgia, and Albert Brewer in Alabama all represented a new breed of progressive moderate politician that helped demolish Jim Crow segregation and the dual economies, societies, and educational systems notorious to the Sunbelt South. Historian Gordon Harvey explores the political lives and legacies of three of these governors, examining the conditions that led to such a radical change in political leadership, the effects their legislative agendas had on the identity of their states, and the aftermath of their terms in elected office.

A common thread in each governor's agenda was educational reform. Albert Brewer's short term as Alabama governor resulted in a sweeping education package that still stands as the most progressive the state has seen. Reubin Askew, far more outspoken than Brewer, won the Florida gubernatorial election through a campaign that openly promoted desegregation, busing, and tax reform as a means of equal school funding. John West's commitment to a policy of inclusion helped allay fears of both black and white parents and made South Carolina's one of the smoothest transitions to integrated schools.

As members of the first generation of New South governors, Brewer, Askew, and West played the role of trailblazers. Their successful assaults on economic and racial injustice in their states were certainly aided by such landmark events as Brown v. Board of Education, the civil rights movement, and the expansion of voting rights-all of which sounded the death knell for the traditional one-party segregated South. But in this critical detailing of their work for justice, we learn how these reform-minded men made education central to their gubernatorial terms and, in doing so, helped redefine the very character of the place they called home.

Reading Appalachia from Left to Right Cover

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Reading Appalachia from Left to Right

Conservatives and the 1974 Kanawha County Textbook Controversy

In Reading Appalachia from Left to Right, Carol Mason examines the legacies of a pivotal 1974 curriculum dispute in West Virginia that heralded the rightward shift in American culture and politics. At a time when black nationalists and white conservatives were both maligned as extremists for opposing education reform, the wife of a fundamentalist preacher who objected to new language-arts textbooks featuring multiracial literature sparked the yearlong conflict. It was the most violent textbook battle in America, inspiring mass marches, rallies by white supremacists, boycotts by parents, and strikes by coal miners. Schools were closed several times due to arson and dynamite while national and international news teams descended on Charleston.

A native of Kanawha County, Mason infuses local insight into this study of historically left-leaning protesters ushering in cultural conservatism. Exploring how reports of the conflict as a hillbilly feud affected all involved, she draws on substantial archival research and interviews with Klansmen, evangelicals, miners, bombers, and businessmen, a who, like herself, were residents of Kanawha County during the dispute. Mason investigates vulgar accusations of racism that precluded a richer understanding of how ethnicity, race, class, and gender blended together as white protesters set out to protect "our children's souls."

In the process, she demonstrates how the significance of the controversy goes well beyond resistance to social change on the part of Christian fundamentalists or a cultural clash between elite educators and working-class citizens. The alliances, tactics, and political discourses that emerged in the Kanawha Valley in 1974 crossed traditional lines, inspiring innovations in neo-Nazi organizing, propelling Christian conservatism into the limelight, and providing models for women of the New Right.

Refiguring Rhetorical Education Cover

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Refiguring Rhetorical Education

Women Teaching African American, Native American, and Chicano/a Students, 1865-1911

Jessica Enoch

Refiguring Rhetorical Education: Women Teaching African American, Native American, and Chicano/a Students, 1865-1911 examines the work of five female teachers who challenged gendered and cultural expectations to create teaching practices that met the civic and cultural needs of their students. 

The volume analyzes Lydia Maria Child’s The Freedmen’s Book, a post–Civil War educational textbook for newly freed slaves; Zitkala Ša’s autobiographical essays published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1900 that questioned the work of off-reservation boarding schools for Native American students; and Jovita Idar, Marta Peña, and Leonor Villegas de Magnón’s contributions to the Spanish-language newspaper La Crónica in 1910 and 1911—contributions that offered language and cultural instruction their readers could not receive in Texas public schools.  

Author Jessica Enoch explores the possibilities and limitations of rhetorical education by focusing on the challenges that Child, Zitkala Ša, Idar, Peña, and Villegas made to dominant educational practices. Each of these teachers transformed their seemingly apolitical occupation into a site of resistance, revising debilitating educational methods to advance culture-based and politicized teachings that empowered their students to rise above their subjugated positions.

Refiguring Rhetorical Education considers how race, culture, power, and language are both implicit and explicit in discussions of rhetorical education for marginalized students and includes six major tenets to guide present-day pedagogies for civic engagement.

 

 

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Religion Enters the Academy

The Origins of the Scholarly Study of Religion in America

James Turner

Religious studies—also known as comparative religion or history of religions—emerged as a field of study in colleges and universities on both sides of the Atlantic during the late nineteenth century. In Europe, as previous historians have demonstrated, the discipline grew from long-established traditions of university-based philological scholarship. But in the United States, James Turner argues, religious studies developed outside the academy.

Until about 1820, Turner contends, even learned Americans showed little interest in non-European religions—a subject that had fascinated their counterparts in Europe since the end of the seventeenth century. Growing concerns about the status of Christianity generated American interest in comparing it to other great religions, and the resulting writings eventually produced the academic discipline of religious studies in U.S. universities. Fostered especially by learned Protestant ministers, this new discipline focused on canonical texts—the “bibles”—of other great world religions. This rather narrow approach provoked the philosopher and psychologist William James to challenge academic religious studies in 1902 with his celebrated and groundbreaking Varieties of Religious Experience.

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Rhetoric at the Margins

Revising the History of Writing Instruction in American Colleges, 1873-1947

David Gold

Rhetoric at the Margins: Revising the History of Writing Instruction in American Colleges, 1873-1947 examines the rhetorical education of African American, female, and working-class college students in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The rich case studies in this work encourage a reconceptualization of both the history of rhetoric and composition and the ways we make use of it.

Author David Gold uses archival materials to study three types of institutions historically underrepresented in disciplinary histories: a black liberal arts college in rural East Texas (Wiley College); a public women's college (Texas Woman's University); and an independent teacher training school (East Texas Normal College). The case studies complement and challenge previous disciplinary histories and suggest that the epistemological schema that have long applied to pedagogical practices may actually limit our understanding of those practices.

Gold argues that each of these schools championed intellectual and pedagogical traditions that differed from the Eastern liberal arts model—a model that often serves as the standard bearer for rhetorical education. He demonstrates that by emphasizing community uplift and civic participation and attending to local needs, these schools created contexts in which otherwise moribund curricular features of the era—such as strict classroom discipline and an emphasis on prescription—took on new possibilities.

Rhetoric at the Margins describes the recent revisionist turn in rhetoric and composition historiography, argues for the importance of diverse institutional microhistories, and argues that the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries offer rich lessons for contemporary classroom practice. The study brings alive the voices of black, female, rural, Southern, and first-generation college students and their instructors, effectively linking these histories to the history of rhetoric and writing. Appendices include excerpts of important and rarely seen primary source material, allowing readers to experience in fuller detail the voices captured in this work.

 

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Rhetoric, Romance, and Technology

Studies in the Interaction of Expression and Culture

by Walter J. Ong

This is not a book on rhetoric in any narrow sense, but rather concerns its general ambiance and also some of its quite specific manifestations. The thirteen chapters that comprise the book move chronologically from the Renaissance up to the present time. Chapter 2 shows the continuity of verbal expression during the English Renaissance with earlier speech and thought patterns before the invention of writing. In the third chapter, a detailed report is given on the entire production of English-language books on rhetoric and poetic and literary criticism or theory during the Tudor age, from the late 15th through the beginning of the 17th century. The fourth chapter indicates the central significance of the art of memory.

The chapters from 5 through 12 treat the interrelationships between social institutions and modes of thought and expression (Latin Language Study as a Renaissance Puberty Rite; Ramist Classroom Procedure and the Nature of Reality; Ramist Method and the Commercial Mind; Swift on the Mind: Satire in a Closed Field; Psyche and the Geometers; Associationist Critical Theory; J. S. Mill's Pariah Poet; Romantic Difference and the Poetics of Technology; and The Literate Orality of Popular Culture Today). The final chapter centers on the history of the humanities to show that they have not been the same in all ages, and that they are always in a state of crisis.

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RÈussite scolaire, Faillite Sociale

GÈnÈalogie mentale de la crise de l'Afrique Noire Francophone

Two volumes of school textbooks have notably led to self repulsion and attraction by the other peculiar to the black African elite. These are the collection put together by the missionary brothers Macaire and Grill: Mamadou et Bineta authored by AndrÈ Davesne alone or in collaboration with J. Gouin. To have an understanding of the kind of scholar produced by the foreign school in the colonies a century after, it is worthwhile retracing the itinerary, followed through readings by generation of pupils, to know the sources that fed their imaginationÖ. Out of tune with the universe of their birth, unable to efficiently concretize school teaching, but having certainly perceived that education and education alone is the new pedigree of distinction, school pupils have had to simulate the appropriation of fetishist models of knowledge without necessarily assimilating the spirit of the new civilization and much less taking the challenge to preserve self integrity redeemed through a complaisant dependence that spares from taking any action by fear of doing wrong or being called to order by the overbearing world. If not, how can one explain, in spite of the material and symbolic crises, that the elite since independence have not initiated a discursive strategy for another effective school system? Now, with aspiration or repugnance to discontinuity, the intentions are to rid Africa of the unhealthy residual French complexes in order to engage on the path of double acknowledgement and difference. This seems the most likely to restore trust amongst the peoples and to assure the endorsement of men worthy of being called such.

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Sacrifice and Survival

Identity, Mission, and Jesuit Higher Education in the American South

Sacrifice and Survival recounts the history and development of Jesuit higher education in the American South.

R. Eric Platt examines in Sacrifice and Survival the history and evolution of Jesuit higher education in the American South and hypothesizes that the identity and mission of southern Jesuit colleges and universities may have functioned as catalytic concepts that affected the “town and gown” relationships between the institutions and their host communities in ways that influenced whether they failed or adapted to survive.

The Catholic religious order known as the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) manages a global network of colleges and universities with a distinct Catholic identity and mission. Despite this immense educational system, several Jesuit institutions have closed throughout the course of the order’s existence. Societal pressures, external perceptions or misperceptions, unbalanced curricular structures rooted in liberal arts, and administrators’ slow acceptance of courses related to practical job seeking may all influence religious-affiliated educational institutions. The religious identity and mission of these colleges and universities are fundamentals that influence their interaction with external environs and contribute to their survival or failure.

Platt traces the roots of Jesuit education from the rise of Ignatius Loyola in the mid-sixteenth century through the European development of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit educational identity and mission, the migration of Jesuits to colonial New Orleans, the expulsion of Jesuits by Papal mandate, the reorganization of Jesuit education, their attempt to establish a network of educational institutions across the South, and the final closure of all but two southern Jesuit colleges and a set of high schools.

Sacrifice and Survival explores the implications of the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, yellow fever, Georgia floods, devastating fires, the Civil War, the expansion of New Orleans due to the 1884 Cotton Centennial Exposition, and ties between town and gown, as well as anti-Catholic/anti-Jesuit sentiment as the Society of Jesus pushed forward to create a system of southern institutions. Ultimately, institutional identity and mission critically impacted the survival of Jesuit education in the American South.

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A Second Home

Missouri's Early Schools

Sue Thomas

 

The one-room schoolhouse may be a thing of the past, but it is the foundation on which modern education rests. Sue Thomas now traces the progress of early education in Missouri, demonstrating how important early schools were in taming the frontier.
            A Second Home offers an in-depth and entertaining look at education in the days when pioneers had to postpone schooling for their children until they could provide shelter for their families and clear their fields for crops, while well-to-do families employed tutors or sent their children back east. Thomas tells of the earliest known English school at the Ramsay settlement near Cape Girardeau, then of the opening of a handful of schools around the time of the Louisiana Purchase—such as Benjamin Johnson’s school on Sandy Creek, Christopher Schewe’s school for boys when St. Louis was still a village, and the Ste. Genevieve Academy, where poor and Indian children were taught free of charge. She describes how, as communities grew, additional  private schools opened—including “dame schools,” denominational schools, and subscription schools—until public education came into its own in the 1850s.
            Drawing on oral histories collected throughout the state, as well as private diaries and archival research, the book is full of firsthand accounts of what education once was like—including descriptions of the furnishings, teaching methods, and school-day activities in one-room log schools. It also includes the experiences of former slaves and free blacks following the Civil War when they were newly entitled to public education, with discussions of the contributions of John Berry Meachum, James Milton Turner, and other African American leaders.
            With its remembrances of simpler times, A Second Home tells of community gatherings in country schools and events such as taffy pulls and spelling bees, and offers tales of stern teachers, student pranks, and schoolyard games. Accompanying illustrations illuminate family and school life in the colonial, territorial, early statehood, and post–Civil War periods. For readers who recall older family members’ accounts or who are simply fascinated by the past, this is a book that will conjure images of a bygone time while opening a new window on Missouri history.

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