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Writing Postcolonial Histories of Intercultural Education

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Edited By Heike Niedrig and Christian Ydesen

Bringing together a group of international researchers from two educational sub-disciplines – «History of Education» and «Intercultural Education» – the contributions to this volume provide insights into the (pre-)history of intercultural issues in education across a vast range of historical, national-geographical and political contexts. The anthology takes its readers on a fascinating journey around the globe, presenting case studies from Asia, Africa, Europe and America. The coherence of the journey is found in recurring themes and questions, such as: How does the discourse on «multiculturalism» or «intercultural learning» construct the norm and the Others in these educational settings? Who has the power of definition? And what are the functions and effects of these processes of Othering?

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Catriona Ellis: ‘No man is a man who does not discover something, be it anew star or an old manuscript’ – The Debate over New Education in Late Colonial India

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‘No man is a man who does not discover something, be it a new star or an old manuscript’1 – The Debate over New Education in Late Colonial India Catriona Ellis, University of Edinburgh, UK The aim of the new syllabus for elementary education in the Madras Presidency in 1940 was “to connect the school curriculum with the actual environment in which the pupils live and to make education more suitable to the needs of the rural population.”2 This had been a continuing part of the rhetoric of the colonial government. For example, the government educational (Public Instruction) re- port of 1934 wanted “to make teaching and curricula progressively more scien- tific and more socially and culturally effective” (96). Using the writings of colonial, missionary, and especially Indian education- ists in pedagogic journals and in documentation of specific educational experi- ments, this chapter looks at the desired transition from pre-colonial and colonial ‘traditional’ teaching techniques towards what was viewed as a more progres- sive approach to teaching, particularly at elementary level. Elementary level teaching, which has been discussed less in the existing literature, was the only form of education received by the majority of the population in India during the colonial period. Of particular interest are the specific educational techniques these pedagogues wanted to establish as well as the inherent contradictions within this approach, particularly in a colonial setting. In addition, this essay queries the ambiguous notion of the ‘Indian child’ in these educational dis- courses. Since the objective (as...

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