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Empire and Education in Africa

The Shaping of a Comparative Perspective


Edited By Peter Kallaway and Rebecca Swartz

Empire and Education in Africa brings together a rich body of scholarship on the history of education in colonial Africa. It provides a unique contribution to the historiography of education in different African countries and a useful point of entry for scholars new to the field of African colonial education. The collection includes case studies from South Africa, Ethiopia, Madagascar, French West Africa (Afrique Occidentale Française) and Tanzania (then Tanganyika). It will therefore prove invaluable for scholars in the histories of French, British and German colonialism in Africa. The book examines similarities and differences in approaches to education across a broad geographical and chronological framework, with chapters focusing on the period between 1830 and 1950. The chapters highlight some central concerns in writing histories of education that transcend geographic or imperial boundaries. The text addresses the relationship between voluntary societies’ role in education provision and state education. The book also deals with ‘adapted’ education: what kind of education was appropriate to African people or African contexts, and how did this differ across and between colonial contexts? Finally, many of the chapters deal with issues of gender in colonial education, showing how issues of gender were central to education provision in Africa.
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Chapter One: ‘Lessons’ from the Subcontinent: Indian Dynamics in British Africa


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‘Lessons’ from THE Subcontinent

Indian Dynamics in British Africa


This chapter examines the educational legacy of colonial India and its contribution to the shaping of British colonial perspectives that later fed into British Africa in the twentieth century. Of course, educational developments at the metropole, in Europe and the United States were important in influencing these colonial African perspectives. However, as far as the British colonies in Africa were concerned, there was an apparent equivalence with earlier developments and experimentation in British India in terms of a broader civilising mission for non-white colonial domains and how colonial education might be situated within these territories.

Understanding the transfer of colonial ideas between India and Africa, within the ambit of the British Empire, engages modern theorisation, particularly concerning educative processes and their place in empire. This theorisation revises earlier work that has overplayed the central influence of Britain. Most particularly, new ideas on this topic have taken the discussion away from misapplied centre-periphery perspectives to ones that engage interesting multi-dimensional and multi-directional approaches. Kate Darian-Smith, Patricia Grimshaw and Stuart Macintyre, in their study of Britishness as a global phenomenon, examine what happened to this Britishness in its diffuse forms as the empire declined.1 Catherine Hall has examined the metropole itself as a cultural space worthy of problematisation and subject to influence from colonies abroad.2 There is also new research that explores the historicity...

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