How should the History of Education be Written? Some Reflections about the Nature of the Discipline from the Perspective of the Reception of our Work

Author: Depaepe, Marc

Source: Studies in Philosophy and Education, Volume 23, Number 5, September 2004 , pp. 333-345(13)

Publisher: Springer

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How should history of education be written? To put the question is far more easier than to provide a concrete answer. In contemporary research, there continue to be pedagogistic complaints about finding answers to present-day educational problems via history. In our view, such an ahistorical utilitarianism as well as the legitimizing and/or mythologizing belief in a particular pedagogical system, in which the history of this field is so rich since the institutionalization of the discipline at the end of the nineteenth century, should be avoided at all costs. But the danger of presentism lurks around the corner as a sine qua non condition in any form of historical research. As can be found out via the comments on our own work, much of the criticism goes back to old conceptions of the discipline, conceived as “historical pedagogy” rather than as history of education. Apparently, in the field of pedagogy people are still convinced that the history of education, even if it does not provide edifying examples and useful lessons, must in any case have a training value for professionals – which in the light of modern, advanced research is rather a difficult idea to defend.

Keywords: Belgium; Congo; Educational sciences; historiography; history; history of education; methodology of pedagogy; theory of history of education

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Faculteit Psychologie en Pedagogische WetenschappenDepartement Pedagogische WetenschappenKatholieke, Universiteit Leuven, Belgiƫ)

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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