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Modelling the Future
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Comparative Histories of Education

Modelling the Future

exhibitions and the materiality of education


2009 paperback 208 pages, £34.00, ISBN 978-1-873927-27-4

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About the book

The role of World Exhibitions in the 19th and early 20th centuries was to confirm a relation between the nation state and modernity. As a display about industries, inventions and identities, the Exhibition, in a sense, put entire nations into an elevated, viewable space. It is a significant element in modernity as comparisons can be made, progress is assumed and the future can be made manageable. The Exhibition links the national and local, with the international and global. Nationalism and internationalism are in tension in the space, and so is the relation between government, business and media.
The educational dimension of Exhibitions is an area of research rich in possibilities for historians of education. It is a dimension of comparative education which illuminates classifications and genealogies, networks and audiences, cross border industries of education, and the factors which shape discursive and technical exchanges.
Displays of education objects can be read as demonstrations of modernity in education and schooling. They were catalogues of the future.

Contents [Please click on author name for summary]

Martin Lawn. Introduction, 7-14

Martin Lawn Sites of the Future: comparing and ordering new educational actualities, 15-30

Agustín Escolano Benito Ethnohistory and Materiality of Education: in the setting of the Universal Exhibitions, 31-49

Eckhardt Fuchs All the World into the School: World’s Fairs and the emergence of the school museum in the nineteenth century, 51-72

Kayoko Komatsu The Formation and Transformation of Education in Japan through Exhibitions: focused on the Educational Museum founded in 1877, 73-86

Noah W. Sobe, Carrie B. Rackers Fashioning Writing Machines: typewriting and handwriting exhibits at US World’s Fairs 1893-1915, 87-105

Ian Grosvenor Teaching the Empire: the Weekly Bulletin of Empire Study and the British Empire Exhibition, London, 1924, 107-127

Inés Dussel The Spectacle of Schooling and the Construction of the Nation in Argentina’s Participation in World Exhibitions (1867-1889), 129-152

María del Mar del Pozo Andrés The Bull and the Book: images of Spain and Spanish education in the world fairs of the nineteenth century (1851-1900), 153-182

David Limond ‘More of a school than a show’?: events in Glasgow, 1888-1988, 183-203

Notes on Contributors, 205-205

Martin Lawn. Introduction

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Sites of the Future: comparing and ordering new educational actualities
Martin Lawn

Starting with the Great Exhibition of 1851, world exhibitions are the site of formation for significant new ‘technologies of rule’ in which standards and classifications emerge and are ordered. A new education relation between state and people was formed in which exhibitions became the catalysts and the linking narrative between new systems, media, technologies and institutions. Comparison between states, based around identity and production, became increasingly transparent and organised.

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Ethnohistory and Materiality of Education: in the setting of the Universal Exhibitions
Agustín Escolano Benito

This chapter analyses the materialities and representations constructed and exhibited by the Universal Exhibitions in the second half of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries. These images, of unknown and often exotic realities, entered the school manuals, the pedagogical museums and other cultural mediations, thus establishing an imaginary of widespread and long-lasting influence. The chapter sets out to establish a cultural orientation of studies into the historic-educational heritage and suggests guidelines for a semiology of the objects which make up this heritage. All of this is integrated within the framework of a new historical education of the citizen.

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All the World into the School: World’s Fairs and the emergence of the school museum in the nineteenth century
Eckhardt Fuchs

Within the context of temporary exhibitions on education and upbringing in the second half of the nineteenth century, especially as related to World’s Fairs, the first school museums were born. These museums mirrored elementary and secondary school teachers’ aspirations for professionalism. Through the school museums, they hoped to boost their social status, which was generally low at this time as a result of insufficient qualification standards and few opportunities for further training. The founding and development of school museums were imbedded in the broader movement to reform schools and popular education. Unlike other types of museums, school museums then had a specific function which went beyond the popularisation of pedagogical knowledge and therefore the ‘education’ of the visitor, since they displayed objects with a direct relevance to professional practice. School museums thus contained a potential for modernising the educational system.

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The Formation and Transformation of Education in Japan through Exhibitions: focused on the Educational Museum founded in 1877
Kayoko Komatsu

This chapter attempts to clarify the way that exhibitions promoted the modernisation of education in Japan. Exhibitions functioned as a converter of people’s sense of value and made Japan the modern nation state. Especially the Educational Museum founded in 1877 was the ‘showroom’ of modern education and the ‘laboratory or factory’ of new equipments in order to promote modern education. It displayed a number of foreign materials collected from various European countries. The foreign materials were displayed next to the domestic products which had been made from foreign models. This museum indicated the direction in which Japan should advance through concrete objects but in the light of ambiguous images of Western materials. It has also been revealed that the development and decline of the museum corresponded with the change in pedagogy at the beginning of modern Japan.

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Fashioning Writing Machines: typewriting and handwriting exhibits at US World’s Fairs 1893-1915
Noah W. Sobe, Carrie B. Rackers

Commercial products geared towards educators were a prominent feature of educational exhibits at international expositions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This chapter examines typewriting and handwriting exhibits at World’s Fairs held in the United States between 1893 and 1915. It focuses on the objects used to promote particular systems of typewriting instruction; typewriters as objects in themselves; as well as the material culture associated with various forms of handwriting instruction. At some fairs these products were promoted in demonstration classrooms, thus adding living exhibits to the pamphlets, wall displays and vitrines produced by the companies involved. This segment of educational products nicely illustrates the ways that commercial interests and state actors worked in tandem to engineer the progressive futures that were imagined and implanted at World’s Fairs. He authors are particularly interested in the ways that these educational objects and practices produced and normalized certain kinds of behaviors and dispositions among individuals. The chapter discusses ways that, around the turn of the twentieth century, handwriting and typewriting were not worlds apart. In each there was the notion of producing a ‘writing machine’ where the human and non-human were fused and writing would become automatic. The examination of typewriting and handwriting exhibits at World’s Fairs reveals the significance of schooling in engendering the human automatization of certain tasks and generating the forms of subjectivity that this requires.

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Teaching the Empire: the Weekly Bulletin of Empire Study and the British Empire Exhibition, London, 1924
Ian Grosvenor

‘Day by day throughout the last two years there has been growing up in our midst the greatest Exhibition this country or Europe has ever known. Concentrated in a few acres is a representation in miniature of the greatest political entity of our time’. So the pre-publicity for the 1924 British Empire Exhibition announced its arrival. The Exhibition has attracted the interest of historians of empire as a particularly good source for exploring issues around individual national identities within the British imperial family of nations. What is less well known is the programme of educational events which were linked to the Exhibition. The Board of Education arranged for a special scheme of study of the history and geography of the Empire in the schools of Great Britain during the term of the Empire Exhibition. Central to the organisation of this scheme was the publication of the Weekly Bulletin of Empire Study. This chapter uses the Bulletin to explore how and what message of Empire was spread to schools. It then documents the extent to which the Exhibition itself reflected the messages being sent into schools. Finally, it considers the relationship between imperial exhibitions, ideas of nation and race thinking.

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The Spectacle of Schooling and the Construction of the Nation in Argentina’s Participation in World Exhibitions (1867-1889)
Inés Dussel

During the period that goes from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century, there were a considerable number of international exhibitions that sought to establish a visual, cultural, and political order for the world. The aim of Argentina’s participation in these expositions, sustained and ambitious, was to assert its role in that arrangement and to attract prospective foreign immigrants and investors. This participation was also a way of constructing a national narrative, one that placed Argentina as the European-most country in Latin America and privileged schooling as a clear indicator of its progress. This chapter analyses the educational sections of Argentina’s consignments to the exhibitions in Paris in 1867 and 1889. Throughout this period, it is possible to study how a particular ‘spectacle of schooling’ was organized, and how it intended to give visibility to peculiar aspects of the daily life of schools and educational policies. Moreover, some debates on whether schooling can and should be turned into an entertaining spectacle, and how to frame the national experience in that respect, are found in the interchanges about how to organize the exhibits. These debates still hold interest for today’s discussion of school culture, its visual arrangements, and the spectacularization of our daily life.

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The Bull and the Book: images of Spain and Spanish education in the world fairs of the nineteenth century (1851-1900)
María del Mar del Pozo Andrés

This chapter raises some questions about the presence of Spanish education in the World Fairs of the nineteenth century. First, it tries to discover what were the different national representations that Spain wanted to transmit to the world at these events, through the most public and visible manifestations. Secondly, it studies the school exhibitions that Spain organized in a nationalistic mode at each international convention. Thirdly, it looks more deeply at the direct and brutal confrontation which some Spanish educators had with the educational methods of other countries, and especially with North America, which awakened great interest as a consequence of the Cuban War. The perception of the ‘other’ provided a certain amount of self-criticism about the state of Spanish education. Finally, the chapter raises the question of whether the bombardment of new pedagogic ideas that were present at the World Fairs directly contributed to any real change in the Spanish schools or influenced their educational policies in the second half of the nineteenth century, which is to say: did such an outpouring of means have any practical influence on the school culture of the time?

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‘More of a school than a show’?: events in Glasgow, 1888-1988
David Limond

This chapter concentrates attention on three major exhibitions and one minor and less well-remembered event, all of which took place in the city of Glasgow between 1888 and 1988. Using Glasgow as a case study it attempts to show a trajectory of change in the educational aspirations attached to such events. Thus, it shows how the essentially autodidactic nature of nineteenth-century exhibitions gave way to a more hectoring and paternalistic discourse in the early and mid twentieth century and how, in turn, the organisers of such events had effectively abandoned any pretence of educational aspiration by the century’s end.

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Notes on Contributors

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Inés Dussel is a researcher at the Education Area of Flacso (Latin American School for the Social Sciences)/Argentina. She holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has done research in Germany and Mexico. She has written several books and chapters on pedagogy, history, and culture. For seven years now, she has been part of a team that works on education, images, and media, including the production of eight educational documentaries and programmes for teacher education. Her research interests include the history of pedagogy and visual culture. She has written on the history of curriculum and the schooled body.

Agustín Escolano Benito is a Professor of the Theory and History of Education at the University of Valladolid and director of the International Centre of School Culture (CEINCE). He has taught at the Universities of Madrid, Oviedo and Salamanca. At Salamanca he founded the Interuniversity Journal History of Education, which he still edits. He has been the President of the Spanish Society for the History of Education and a member of the executive committee of the International Standing Conference for the History of Education (ISCHE). At present he works in the following fields: school culture, manualistics, history of contemporary education, sustainability, hermeneutics and ethnohisory of the school. Among his most recent published work (some as editor) are: La educación en la España contemporánea (Education in contemporary Spain), Historia ilustrada del libro escolar (Illustrated history of the schoolbook), Historia ilustrada de la escuela (Illustrated history of the school), Cambio educativo y cultura de la sostenibilidad (Educational change and the culture of sustainability), Currículum editado y sociedad del conocimiento (Published curriculum and the knowledge society).

Eckhardt Fuchs is Research Director of the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research in Braunschweig, Germany, and holds a professorship at the University of Mannheim. His research interests include the global history of modern education, international education policies, curriculum and textbook development, world history and the history of science and historiography. He is also co-editor of the journal Comparativ, a member of numerous academic societies and an evaluator for foundations and journals as well as review editor for the German internet list, ‘H-Soz-u-Kult’.

Ian Grosvenor is Professor of Urban Educational History at the School of Education, University of Birmingham, UK. He is author of numerous articles and books on racism, education and identity, the visual in educational research, the material culture of education and the history of urban education. Books include, Assimilating Identities. Racism and Education in Post 1945 Britain (1997), Silences and Images; the social history of the classroom (1999), with Martin Lawn and Kate Rousmaniere, The School I’d Like (2003) and School (2008), both with Catherine Burke, and Materialities of Schooling (2005), with Martin Lawn. Current research focuses on new ways of conceptualising and presenting the educational past through consideration of issues relating to space, design, technology, the visual in education, artefacts and identity formation. He is Managing Editor of the international journal Paedagogica Historica.

Kayoko Komatsu is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts, and until recently at the Faculty of Health and Sports Sciences, Ryutsu Keizai University, Japan. Her current research interests include how the human body is educated by space and circumstances. She has published a book on Jeremy Bentham’s educational thought, and written articles and book chapters on the history of the classroom, the phrenology, and the educational aspect of arts and sports.

Martin Lawn is a Professorial Research Fellow at the Centre for Educational Sociology, University of Edinburgh. Previously, he was a Professor of Education at the University of Birmingham and Secretary General, European Educational Research Association, 1999-2002. He is a Visiting Professor in Education at the University of Umeå. He is the Editor of the European Educational Research Journal, academic journal of the European Educational Research Association. Recent books include: Silences and Images: the social history of the classroom (ed. with I. Grosvenor & K. Rousmaniere; Peter Lang, 1998), Fabricating Europe – the formation of an education space (ed. with Antonio Nóvoa; Kluwer, 2002); and Materialities of Schooling (ed. with Ian Grosvenor; Symposium Books, 2005).

David Limond is lecturer in the history of education at Trinity College Dublin, and has published on a range of topics in journals including History of Education, History of Education Review, Irish Educational Studies, Oxford Review of Education, Paedagogica Historica and Scottish Educational Review and in five previous edited collections.

María del Mar del Pozo Andrés is Associate Professor of Theory and History of Education in the University of Alcalá. In the years 2000-2006 she was Secretary of the Spanish Society of Pedagogy and Deputy Director of the review Bordón. From 2005 she has also been Secretary of the Spanish Society for the History of Education, and from 2006 a member of the Executive Committee of the International Standing Conference for the History of Education. Her main lines of research and publications are: the role of education in the building of national identities, urban education, teacher training, reception of international pedagogical movements in Spain, iconography and education, women and education, ethnography of the school, and history of curriculum. Her most recent books as editor are the following: Teorías e Instituciones Contemporáneas de Educación (Biblioteca Nueva, 2004) and La educación en Castilla-La Mancha en el siglo XX (1900-1975) (ediciones Almud, 2006).

Carrie B. Rackers is an MA graduate of the Cultural and Educational Policy Studies programme at Loyola University, Chicago, USA.

Noah W. Sobe is Assistant Professor of Cultural and Educational Policy Studies at Loyola University, Chicago, USA. He is a historian of education and comparative education scholar who researches the international circulation of educational policies and theories of teaching and learning. His work has appeared in journals such as Educational Theory, European Education, Paedagogica Historica, and Current Issues in Comparative Education (CICE). He is author of Provincializing the Worldly Citizen: Yugoslav student and teacher travel and Slavic cosmopolitanism in the interwar era (Peter Lang, 2008).

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