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Visionary or bureaucrat? T. H. Huxley, the Science and Art Department and Science teaching for the working class

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Huxley, the visionary, was a key figure in creating modern science education. He was also an employee and bureaucrat of the Science and Art Department most of his working life. The Department was established to organize scientific education for the working class, and many of Huxley's activities on its behalf marked him as a friend of the artisan. It will be argued here that Huxley's vision of working-class scientific education was not in the least radical but reflected the middle-class views of his contemporaries in the Department. Their views, by as late as the 1890s, were little different from those of the late 1840s. Huxley's attitudes were narrowly meritocratic and in no way egalitarian. By the time the movement for technical instruction gathered momentum in the 1880s, Huxley's ideas were distinctly old-fashioned.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Faculty of Pure & Applied Science, York, University, North York, Ontario, M3J 1P3, Canada

Publication date: July 1, 1998

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