Table Of Contents
- About the author
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- The history of education between “Invented Archives” and Actual Research
- Didactics and Politics. The Birth of School Subjects in Pre-Unification Piedmont (1814–1839)
- Teaching geography after the unification of Italy. A GIS application for the history of education
- An Analysis of History of Turkish Education: Sources, Pioneers and Approaches
- Publishing for the School and Textbooks in the Fascist Twenty-Year Period. From the Gentile Reform to the End of The WWII (1923–1945)
- Dictatorship and Literature Teaching in Modern Greek Secondary Education (1936–1940)
- Gender Identities and Political Power in Francoist School Textbooks (1940–1975)
- 20 Years Of School Textbooks’ History in Romania (1989–2009)
- “Forming the eminently moral and able man” The reading books after Unification
The essays in this book are focused on the production and the use of textbooks in different countries and different periods of European history.1 By indicating some particularly important moments in the evolution of textbooks, they allow a better understanding of the educational history and of some other related topics: the history of school subjects mainly reconstructed through the contents offered to students at various levels of education; the educational and cultural policies that the states have continued through and what is still one of the most powerful means of training and orientation of public opinion: the school.
The common source to all the essays collected here is the educational publishing. All authors have analyzed books, authors, publishers, ← 7 | 8 → users of manuals in limited contexts and moments in the history of education in different countries, in the attempt to study it through the real materials used daily in classes and not simply on teaching methods and pedagogical theories.
There are of course references to other documents, such as laws, regulations and educational programs and even iconography, useful elements for the studied context. As a matter of fact, for its own nature, the history of school and education in general lies at the crossroads of different sources and historiographical interests: to reconstruct its phases it is certainly useful to have textbooks, programs, laws, and images, but it is also needed to know the training of teachers and the scientific debate on contemporary disciplines. Moreover, these issues may be approached through a qualitative or quantitative analysis.
In this sense, the book offers a broad overview of the different possibilities of investigation that textbooks represent, as they deal with different sources and heuristic methods. Some authors focus on the progressive definition of the contents of a single subject, through a qualitative analysis of several manuals, supported by the use of other sources. This approach allows us to know in depth subjects familiar to everyone, not just for historians, and perhaps because of it, not often studied in their evolution in the curriculum.
This is the case of the Modern Greek literature textbooks studied by Lambros Varelas during the Metaxas dictatorship in Greece, which shows the apparent effort to use neutral textbooks with no political or ideological purposes in order to strengthen the power of the ruling government and to disseminate its principles.
The same idea is followed by Giorgio Chiosso, who describes the evolution of textbooks in the primary and secondary Italian schools after the Unification of Italy, showing how textbooks have been used by the political and intellectual élites to forge Italian young people in loving and appreciating the new “unified country”.
In this book, there are also scholars, such as Gianfranco Bandini and Paolo Bianchini, who study the textbooks from a quantitative perspective, by experimenting new research instruments for the history of education. In both cases, we are dealing with research and historiographical ← 8 | 9 → methods at their experimental level, which, however, show the concrete potentials offered by the computer programs that are easily applicable to subjects such as history. Bandini has interpreted data from geography textbooks used in Italian schools from 1874 to 1875 with a Geographic Information System (GIS), which allows a very refined research of data with historical and geographical information. By using geography as an object and research instrument at the same time, through GIS he analyses the strategies of adapting manuals by the instructors, showing how a textbook success was based upon its ability of addressing the teachers’ patriotic feelings.
Bianchini, instead, has used the software for the “Automatic Lexical and Text treatment of Content Analysis” (TALTAC) for a series of textbooks. This software, based on lexicology, has been used to analyze the contents of textbooks’ titles published in Piedmont during the Restoration period. His essay focuses on the relationship between pedagogy and politics while using manuals as research instruments, in connection with the events and the protagonists of the historical time in order to underline the political and cultural strategies of the Kingdom of Sardinia.
In other essays, the manuals are considered as a mean to understand the impact of the reforms on the school system and the didactic in general in a specific country. This is the case of Ebubekir Ceylan’s research, as he used the analysis of history textbooks to map the fundamental phases of the school system and education in general in Turkey during the XIX and XX century.
Roberto Sani’s, Juri Meda’s, Anna Ascenzi’s and Marta Brunelli’s essay have the same objective while following the opposite path: by studying the laws and the regulations of the textbooks, they offer a new and original perspective on the school policy and on education in general during Fascism, by showing the effects on the educational publishing world at that time.
Other essays are focused on the contributions that manuals have provided to the national identity. Ana Maria Badanelli Rubio’s, Kira Mahamud Angulo’s and Miguel Somoza’s research focuses on those female and male roles that were portrayed in the textbooks during Franco’s ← 9 | 10 → dictatorship in Spain. The contents and the images analyzed in the essay highlight such a stereotyped ideal of a male and female figure to appear natural if not genetic even if in reality they were the results of definite ideological and political choices.
On the other hand, Doina-Olga Ştefãnescu and Alexandra Florea’s article compares the textbooks written during Ceausescu’s regime with those published after it, in regards to the interpretation of Romania’s history. The resulting stories are so different among them as to affect the young students with different ideas of country and nation. Knowing that history is not neutral, the Romanian manuals show how historiography can heavily affect the identity of the single individual and the national one.
In this book, there are essays focused on several research methods and tools, together with essays on different periods and places in Europe, from Italy to Spain, Greece, Romania and Turkey: this last case is very interesting from the point of view of the European history of education for its diversified proposed perspective.
The heuristic approach of the essays in this book doesn’t allow a complete reconstruction of the history of the school system in the different countries or of a single school subject. However, by analyzing the subject’s contents and the manuals, this book contributes to examine in depth the subject in general together with its peculiar changes during the years.
It is also important to underline that the manuals’ history can highlight the relevant changes that occurred in curricula, besides those that occurred in the publishing sector in Europe and in the surrounding countries. In this specific area, the manuals contribute to understand the critical moments, the continuity and the permanent aspects in the subjects and in the national and European culture, which is a very old history, so for this reason it is not always easy to rebuild it with all its inner features.
As it is well known, didactic and politics influenced the school contents: we cannot dismiss, in fact, that the school subjects follow peculiar logic connected to the single individual formation but also the citizen one. For this reason, there has always been a gerarchy of the subjects ← 10 | 11 → in school which, however, has been changing. This is indicative of an understanding of the students’ educational needs, seen as the future citizens. As a result, it cannot be considered neutral for the presence or the absence in the curricula of specific historical contents.
It is for this reason that all the essays investigate an important issue, i.e. the evolution of citizenship and the citizen concept in the modern and contemporary Europe. Grammar, history, geography, language and literature have been the instruments through which the students have gradually received the cultural basis of the Western civilization, but they have also contributed to create the public opinion of the different countries.
Good and honest citizens, brave soldiers, smart entrepreneurs and managers have formed themselves in schools, by studying the deeds of the national army, their State frontiers and colonial policies. Acknowledging the importance of school and education in the building up of a national identity, besides the diffusion and success of ideologies and political trends, since the XIX century, all the governments have used, in a more or less successful way, education, textbooks and school manuals as instruments of self promotion, censorship, control and to foster the public opinion and the future electing class.
- ISBN (PDF)
- ISBN (ePUB)
- ISBN (MOBI)
- ISBN (Softcover)
- Publication date
- 2016 (April)
- History of education Teaching in Italy Dictatorship and Literature Textbook history in Romania School Textbooks
- Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2016. 218 pp., 2 b/w ill.