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Call: "Education policies, schools and pupils in Africa from the mid-19th C. to the end of the 1970s"

Paris, 9th May 2019


The CEPED and the CESSMA would like to invite researchers on the history of education in Africa, from the Maghreb to South Africa, to an international workshop to be held in Paris, Thursday, 9th May 2019 on education policies, schools and pupils from colonization to independence in Africa (mid-19th century - 1970s)

We guess that this call for proposals will help to identify the researchers working on the history of education in Africa in order to establish an international network.

The history of education brings a unique perspective to understand imperialism, the processes of nationbuilding and the shaping of societies; and sheds a new light on the political, economic, social, and cultural dynamics of colonial and post-colonial Africa. While outstanding research does exist, the field of history of education in Africa is not well structured and lacks the stimulation of intensive scientific discussions. That is why we need to foster international collaborations through a structured network, that this workshop wishes to initiate. The focus on history does not exclude collaborations with colleagues from other disciplines, as long as a strong historical perspective characterize their work.

Thinking African colonial societies, independence and national constructions through schooling will enrich a comparatist perspective because issues related to education and schooling had critical roles in the constitution of the colonial empires, the social and intellectual networks which structured them and in the debates which animated them. The creation of schools first involved missionaries throughout the nineteenth century and the relationships between missionary societies and colonial powers have been well studied. Soon after the establishment of colonial domination and European imperial structures, basic primary education became the substitute for and the continuation of political violence designed to ensure the control on territories and populations. At the interface of the colonial power, its educational agents (either Africans or Europeans) and the colonized populations, the school is a particularly relevant institution to observe and to understand the colonial "encounter", the contradictions, conflicts, negotiations and domestication processes at work. Since Cheikh Hamidou Kane’s Ambiguous Adventure, or The River Between by Ngugi wa Thiong’o, we also know that education participated in the nascent awareness that led to the decolonization movements, and that colonial schools trained the future nationalist elites, party leaders and independentist parties.

 Many possible themes could be submitted:

  • circulation of policies (aims, concepts, and practices) between colonial headquarters, universities, institutes of education, and colonies.
  • quantitative approach of schools’ equipment in Africa since the mid-19th  century.
  • male and female actors of education policies in Africa and their training in Africa or abroad.
  • impacts on individual and collective identities and on local/regional politics.
  • social and economic changes for people before and after independence up to the end of the 1970s.
  • theoretical and methodological considerations about concepts and sources

Please send your summary to: for.an.education.network@gmail.com

Closing date for applications is 15 February 2019. The summary should be 1500 signs all together. Please specify your surname, your names, your institution or university, your address, email address, and current position.

Apart from the topics of your summary, on which topics/countries/issues in history of education are you working on?

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