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Education > History of Education

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Religion Enters the Academy Cover

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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.

Rhetoric at the Margins Cover

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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.

 

Rhetoric, Romance, and Technology Cover

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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.

RÈussite scolaire, Faillite Sociale Cover

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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.

A Second Home Cover

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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.

Sex Goes to School Cover

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Sex Goes to School

Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s_x000B_

Susan K. Freeman

When seeking approaches for sex education, few look to the past for guidance. But Susan K. Freeman's investigation of the classrooms of the 1940s and 1950s offers numerous insights into the potential for sex education to address adolescent challenges, particularly for girls. From rural Toms River, New Jersey, to urban San Diego and many places in between, the use of discussion-based classes fostered an environment that focused less on strictly biological matters of human reproduction and more on the social dimensions of the gendered and sexual worlds that the students inhabited. The discussion-based approach emphasized a potentially liberating sense of personal choice and responsibility in young women's relationship decisions, and teachers presented girls' sex lives and gendered behavior as critical to the success of American families and, by extension, the entire way of life of American democracy.

Sitting In and Speaking Out Cover

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Sitting In and Speaking Out

Student Movements in the American South, 1960-1970

Jeffrey A. Turner

In Sitting In and Speaking Out, Jeffrey A. Turner examines student movements in the South to grasp the nature of activism in the region during the turbulent 1960s.
 
Turner argues that the story of student activism is too often focused on national groups like Students for a Democratic Society and events at schools like Columbia University and the University of California at Berkeley. Examining the activism of black and white students, he shows that the South responded to national developments but that the response had its own trajectory—one that was rooted in race. Turner looks at such events as the initial desegregation of campuses; integration’s long aftermath, as students learned to share institutions; the Black Power movement; and the antiwar movement.
 
Escalating protest against the Vietnam War tested southern distinctiveness, says Turner. The South’s tendency toward hawkishness impeded antiwar activism, but once that activism arrived, it was—as in other parts of the country—oriented toward events at national and global scales. Nevertheless, southern student activism retained some of its core characteristics. Even in the late 1960s, southern protesters’ demands tended toward reform, often eschewing calls to revolution increasingly heard elsewhere. Based on primary research at more than twenty public and private institutions in the deep and upper South, including historically black schools, Sitting In and Speaking Out is a wide-ranging and sensitive portrait of southern students navigating a remarkably dynamic era.

St. Philip's College Cover

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St. Philip's College

A Point of Pride on San Antonio's Eastside

Marie Pannell Thurston

In 1898, St. Philip’s Normal and Industrial School opened its doors in San Antonio, offering sewing classes for black girls. It was the inaugural effort in a program, founded by the West Texas diocese of the Episcopal Church, to educate and train former slaves and other African Americans in that city.

Originally tied to St. Philip’s Church, about three miles east of the downtown center, the school grew to offer high school and then junior college courses and eventually affiliated with the San Antonio Independent School District and San Antonio College. One of the few remaining historically black junior colleges in the country, St. Philip’s, whose student body is no longer predominantly black, has also been designated a Hispanic-serving institution, one of few schools to bear both designations.

Known by many as “the school that love built,” St. Philip’s College claimed in its 1932 catalog, “There is perhaps as much romance surrounding the development of St. Philip’s Junior College as there is of the ‘Alamo City’ in which it is located.”

That love story, also containing dominant strains of sacrifice, scarcity, creativity, determination, and pride, finds its full expression in this history by Marie Pannell Thurston. Based on archival research and extensive interviews with current and former alumni, faculty, and friends, St. Philip’s College presents the heartwarming and inspiring record of a school, the community that nurtures it, and the collective pride in what the institution and its graduates have accomplished.

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Stories of the Eight-Year Study

Reexamining Secondary Education in America

Presenting the first complete history of the Progressive Education Association’s Eight-Year Study, which took place during the 1930s and the 1940s, this book corrects common misinterpretations of one of the most important educational experiments of the twentieth century and explores the study’s value for reexamining secondary education in America today.

Survival Schools Cover

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Survival Schools

The American Indian Movement and Community Education in the Twin Cities

Julie L. Davis


In the late 1960s, Indian families in Minneapolis and St. Paul were under siege. Clyde Bellecourt remembers, “We were losing our children during this time; juvenile courts were sweeping our children up, and they were fostering them out, and sometimes whole families were being broken up.” In 1972, motivated by prejudice in the child welfare system and hostility in the public schools, American Indian Movement (AIM) organizers and local Native parents came together to start their own community school. For Pat Bellanger, it was about cultural survival. Though established in a moment of crisis, the school fulfilled a goal that she had worked toward for years: to create an educational system that would enable Native children “never to forget who they were.”


While AIM is best known for its national protests and political demands, the survival schools foreground the movement’s local and regional engagement with issues of language, culture, spirituality, and identity. In telling of the evolution and impact of the Heart of the Earth school in Minneapolis and the Red School House in St. Paul, Julie L. Davis explains how the survival schools emerged out of AIM’s local activism in education, child welfare, and juvenile justice and its efforts to achieve self-determination over urban Indian institutions. The schools provided informal, supportive, culturally relevant learning environments for students who had struggled in the public schools. Survival school classes, for example, were often conducted with students and instructors seated together in a circle, which signified the concept of mutual human respect. Davis reveals how the survival schools contributed to the global movement for Indigenous decolonization as they helped Indian youth and their families to reclaim their cultural identities and build a distinctive Native community.


The story of these schools, unfolding here through the voices of activists, teachers, parents, and students, is also an in-depth history of AIM’s founding and early community organizing in the Twin Cities—and evidence of its long-term effect on Indian people’s lives.


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