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Education > History of Education

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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.

Stories of the Eight-Year Study Cover

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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.

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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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Taking the Town

Collegiate and Community Culture in the Bluegrass, 1880-1917

Kolan Morelock

The relationship between a town and its local institutions of higher education is often fraught with turmoil. The complicated tensions between the identity of a city and the character of a university can challenge both communities. Lexington, Kentucky, displays these characteristic conflicts, with two historic educational institutions within its city limits: Transylvania University, the first college west of the Allegheny Mountains, and the University of Kentucky, formerly “State College.” An investigative cultural history of the town that called itself “The Athens of the West,” Taking the Town: Collegiate and Community Culture in Lexington, Kentucky, 1880–1917 depicts the origins and development of this relationship at the turn of the twentieth century. Lexington’s location in the upper South makes it a rich region for examination. Despite a history of turmoil and violence, Lexington’s universities serve as catalysts for change. Until the publication of this book, Lexington was still characterized by academic interpretations that largely consider Southern intellectual life an oxymoron. Kolan Thomas Morelock illuminates how intellectual life flourished in Lexington from the period following Reconstruction to the nation’s entry into the First World War. Drawing from local newspapers and other primary sources from around the region, Morelock offers a comprehensive look at early town-gown dynamics in a city of contradictions. He illuminates Lexington’s identity by investigating the lives of some influential personalities from the era, including Margaret Preston and Joseph Tanner. Focusing on literary societies and dramatic clubs, the author inspects the impact of social and educational university organizations on the town’s popular culture from the Gilded Age to the Progressive Era. Morelock’s work is an enlightening analysis of the intersection between student and citizen intellectual life in the Bluegrass city during an era of profound change and progress. Taking the Town explores an overlooked aspect of Lexington’s history during a time in which the city was establishing its cultural and intellectual identity.

Teaching Subject, A Cover

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Teaching Subject, A

Composition Since 1966

Joseph Harris

Joseph Harris traces the evolution of college writing instruction since the Dartmouth Seminar of 1966. A Teaching Subject offers a brilliant interpretive history of the first decades during which writing studies came to be imagined as a discipline separable from its partners in English studies.

There Goes the Neighborhood Cover

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There Goes the Neighborhood

Rural School Consolidation at the Grass Roots in Early Twentieth-Century Iowa

David R. Reynolds

Despite being the centerpiece of rural educational reform for most of the twentieth century, rural school consolidation has received remarkably little scholarly attention. The social history and geography of the movement, the widespread resistance it provoked, and the cultural landscapes its proponents sought to transform have remained largely unexplored. Now in There Goes the Neighborhood David Reynolds remedies this situation by examining the rural school consolidation movement in that most midwestern of midwestern states, Iowa.

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The University and the People

Envisioning American Higher Education in an Era of Populist Protest

Scott M. Gelber

The University and the People chronicles the influence of Populism—a powerful agrarian movement—on public higher education in the late nineteenth century. Revisiting this pivotal era in the history of the American state university, Scott Gelber demonstrates that Populists expressed a surprising degree of enthusiasm for institutions of higher learning. More fundamentally, he argues that the mission of the state university, as we understand it today, evolved from a fractious but productive relationship between public demands and academic authority.
    Populists attacked a variety of elites—professionals, executives, scholars—and seemed to confirm academia’s fear of anti-intellectual public oversight. The movement’s vision of the state university highlighted deep tensions in American attitudes toward meritocracy and expertise. Yet Populists also promoted state-supported higher education, with the aims of educating the sons (and sometimes daughters) of ordinary citizens, blurring status distinctions, and promoting civic engagement. Accessibility, utilitarianism, and public service were the bywords of Populist journalists, legislators, trustees, and sympathetic professors. These “academic populists” encouraged state universities to reckon with egalitarian perspectives on admissions, financial aid, curricula, and research. And despite their critiques of college “ivory towers,” Populists supported the humanities and social sciences, tolerated a degree of ideological dissent, and lobbied for record-breaking appropriations for state institutions.

War That Wasn't, The Cover

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War That Wasn't, The

Religious Conflict and Compromise in the Common Schools of New York State, 1865-1900

Historians of religion and public schooling often focus on conflict and Bible Wars, pitting Catholics and Protestants against one another in palpitating narratives of the embattled development of American public schooling. The War That Wasn’t tells a different story, arguing that in nineteenth-century New York State a civil system of democratic, local control led to adjustments and compromises far more than discord and bitter conflict. In the decades after the Civil War, New Yorkers from rural, one-room schools to big city districts hammered out a variety of ways to reconcile public education and religious diversity. This book recounts their stories in delightful and compelling detail. The common school system of New York State managed to keep the peace during a time of religious and ethnic pluralism, before sweeping educational reforms ended many of these compromises by the turn of the twentieth century.

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