Over the last few decades, growing calls for compulsory education have ensured that nearly 1 billion children are enrolled in schools worldwide. In the U.S., young children spend, on average, 180 days in school each year. A majority of us have come to accept these institutions as being central to democracy and our quest for just futures. However, the histories and contemporary practices of these institutions continue to be problematic. Schools are eurocentric, colonial institutions that emerged to support a capitalist economy, the spread of empire, and to create a (nearly) uniform process of socialization for young children. For most young people, schools are sites of violence and trauma. In this course, we will examine the complex history of schooling and the shifts that have occurred over the last two centuries.
Using historical documents, scholarly writing, and artistic works (contemporary and historic) we will explore three key questions in this course:
- How and why did schools emerge as the institutions for educating young people?
- How did the spread of these institutions, in the U.S. and across the world, influence the lives of young people from diverse cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds?
- What major shifts have occurred over the past few decades in reimagining the role of schools within U.S. society?
During the two-week IFS course, students will have an opportunity to explore these questions using a variety of approaches—artistic, historical, anthropological, sociological, and literary. These questions will be situated within a transnational framework, with a specific focus on schooling in the U.S. context. The use of artistic and creative works alongside more traditional academic works is a deliberate attempt to challenge the privileging of print-based learning in schools and higher education institutions.
The course will offer an affective, evocative, and interdisciplinary approach. Students will participate in field visits, interact with educators and scholars, and have opportunities to participate in virtual workshops with artists.
Ultimately, this course will help students from all disciplinary backgrounds to develop a critical understanding of the history of schooling in the U.S. and to draw on interdisciplinary approaches to understand a topic, make arguments, and create their own works.
GenEd Information: See the GenEd Website for information about courses approved for the IU Bloomington General Education requirements.
Catalog Information: EDUC-F 203 TOP EXPLORATION IN EDUCATION