Teaching Nation? Histories of Education and the Politics of Commemoration – Canadian History of Education Association (CHEA/ACHE) 19th Biennial Conference (27-30/10/2016)

Waterloo, Ontario

We live in an age of commemoration. Canada has spent millions to mark the bicentennials of the War of 1812 and the birth of inaugural Prime Minister Sir John A Macdonald. In 2017, more money will be spent to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Globally, many have honoured the 70th anniversary of WWII’s end, and with it the creation of the United Nations, and, in 2018, will pay homage to the end of WWI and the introduction of limited franchise for women’s suffrage. These commemorative projects aim to teach citizens about ‘the nation’ in specific ways that serve to bolster support for the military and political institutions. While there is, therefore, a strong link between pedagogy and the politics of commemoration, nation states rarely consider education worthy of remembering. This conference addresses how histories of education and history education are embroiled in teaching nations through the process of commemoration.

The Canadian History of Education Association / Association canadienne d’histoire de l’éducation brings together students, educators, teacher educators, scholars, and community-based researchers to study the educational past from interdisciplinary perspectives. CHEA/ACHÉ broadly defines the history of education to include, but not be limited to, formal and informal settings for teaching and learning (e.g. curricula and pedagogy, as well as community groups), social and cultural approaches to education (i.e. from religious organizations to the arts), the study of children and youth (e.g. youth clubs, popular culture), as well as policy and governance of schooling (i.e. from leader biographies to policy document analysis).

For CHEA/ACHÉ’s 19th biennial, peer-reviewed conference, we invite proposals that speak to the theme of Teaching Nation?: Histories of Education and the Politics of Commemoration. Proposals may address the history of education as it relates to national remembrance, counter-commemoration, historical consciousness, and public knowledge. Some of the questions that may be considered include:

  • Why are histories of education important to public knowledge of the past? Why must we remember educational practices and policies of the past? What histories of education need to be addressed and/or celebrated?
  • Where does the history of education, as a field of study, fit with national remembrances typically marked by military and political history? How are current histories of education part of a nation’s commemorative practices?
  • Who is included and excluded from the nation and from the history of education and why? Who gets to define the criteria for citizenship and national belonging? What histories of education need to be retold to disrupt current commemorative practices or public knowledge?
  • How does difficult knowledge about the educational past inform political choices today? How do histories of education help to challenge sanitized commemoration? What is the relationship between history of education, history education, and reconciliation in Canada and globally?
  • How are historians of education mobilizing their knowledge? How is the history of education part of the public history movement? Where are historians and communities sharing expertise to build historical narratives about education?
  • What do students and the public understand about educational pasts? How has the history of education been constructed and interpreted to inform the public? How does a community of memory about schooling, children, learning, curricula, and teaching shape a nation or nations?

Teaching Nation? Histories of Education and the Politics of Commemoration – Canadian History of Education Association (CHEA/ACHE) 19th Biennial Conference (27-30/10/2016)