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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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This collection arises out of a concern about the state of research on the history of colonial education in Africa and a commitment by the International Standing Conference for the History of Education (ISCHE) and the Southern African Comparative and History of Education Society (SACHES) to sponsor a workshop at the School of Education of the University of Cape Town in July 2013. With the enthusiastic cooperation of Kate Roumaniere and Eckhard Fuchs (past presidents of ISCHE); Charl Wolhuter, the chair of the Southern African Comparative and History of Education Society (SACHES); and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Crain Soudien, we selected twenty-five participants to share their work during a two-day meeting. The majority of those selected to attend were graduate students who had either just completed their dissertations or were well on the way to doing so. The chapters presented in this volume represent the fruit of that set of discussions which made us all aware of the formidable issues at stake in tackling this task, and demonstrated the enthusiastic commitment of those who attended. The majority of the participants came from Europe, North America and South Africa; there were two others from Latin America and one from Japan. Sadly, we failed to draw in any researchers from the rest of Africa despite strenuous efforts to do so. We hope that this volume is able to act as a stimulus to such work in...

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