Can Loyalty Be Taught? Curricula and Politics across the 20th-Century Colonial World

AHA Session 158
Saturday, January 5, 2019: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Wabash Room (Palmer House Hilton, Third Floor)
Kelly M. Duke Bryant, Rowan University

Session Abstract

Can loyalty be taught? Can schools in colonial settings foster colonial as well as anti-colonial national affiliations? The papers on this panel investigate this question through studies of education systems in colonial contexts in Africa, Australia, the Middle East, and North America. Specifically, the panelists address the politics of curricula in colonial schools. Hilary Kalisman examines the politics of agricultural education in Jewish and Arab schools in Mandate-era Palestine. Her paper connects practical and theoretical agricultural knowledge to debates over the right to rule the territory. Stephen Jackson compares the development of history curricula in the schools of Ontario, Canada and Victoria, Australia, in the mid-twentieth century. During this period, these curricula evolved from a British-centered model to a nationally-defined narrative of multiculturalism and unique Canadian and Australian pasts. Samuel Anderson focuses on médersas, official “Franco-Muslim” schools that provided Islamic educations in the early twentieth century in French-colonized Senegal and Mauritania. Each school’s curricula developed differently according to confluences of local and imperial religious and racial logics. The Islamic curriculum was the primary site for these debates. All three papers highlight the unintended consequences of these curricular contestations. As such, the panel draws connections across space and time to illustrate complex expressions of loyalty—and disloyalty—produced by different forms of colonial schooling. The intended audience for this session includes historians interested in the intersections between colonialism, schooling, identity, religion and politics globally, during the 20th century.
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