Internationalisation dans le champ éducatif (18e – 20e siècles) Internationalization in Education (18th – 20th centuries) Genève / Geneva, 27-30 juin / June 2012


Marcel NAAS, University of Basel, Switzerland



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Marcel NAAS, University of Basel, Switzerland

Children’s bibles are a forgotten source in historical research on education, although they have been used in schools and families for centuries. Children’s bibles do not only tell the stories of the Holy Bible, which could be considered as being a field for theological research, but they also teach moral and general knowledge, which makes them interesting for a more pedagogical or didactical approach. The didactical construction of a children’s bible – the selected stories, the way of presenting them to the children and the used language – tell something about the author’s implicit perception of the child. The situation in Switzerland with the numerous cantons, which are either catholic, protestant or half protestant half catholic, leads to the question whether there is something like a cantonal perception of the child or at least a confessional different perception to be discovered. That’s why my dissertation focuses on children’s bibles that were used in schools of exemplary cantons between 1800 and 1850. My presentation will give an overview of the results in my dissertation, including some insights in selected bible stories like “the fall of man”, “Sodom and Gomorrha”, “David and Bathseba” or the “Sufferings of Jesus Christ” to show how differently these stories were written. Topics like violence, sexuality, moral, sin, the justifying of a punishing God, the way of treating wonders or the implementation of scientific knowledge in children’s bibles will be pointed out to extract the implicit perception of the child. It will be my aim to show some general tendencies concerning the change of this perception within the analyzed time-span as well as to show and explain some cantonal and confessional differences.

Teaching the Holocaust beyond curricular guidelines

Nadine GEISLER, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

In contrast to clearly defined school subjects such as arithmetic or French and in contrast to unquestioned elements of the individual school subjects such as the rule of three or the subjunctive some curricular contents are less established. This low level of establishment can be seen in either the complete lack of official teaching materials such as textbooks or in the marginalization of these topics within these teaching materials. My paper deals with one (tragic) event in recent history that has had a hard time getting integrated into the ‘normal’ curriculum: the Holocaust education. Up to very recent years the Luxembourgian schools did not explicitly focus on the extermination of the European Jews. Accordingly, the Holocaust was no topic within national textbooks in history nor did any further official teaching materials exist. Only after 2000 the opportunity of visiting a concentration camp is mentioned in the curriculum, not taking into account the distinction between a concentration and an extermination camp. The gap between the growing consciousness about the Holocaust in the 1970’s and the international Holocaust education movement – beginning 1998 with the foundation of the „Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, remembrance, and research“ (ITF) – and the lack of teaching materials at schools raises the question of how teachers dealt with the situation. The aim of this paper is to show which teaching materials were developed beyond the classic one’s like the schoolbooks; the so-called alternative teaching materials like scholarly resources on the “Holocaust” such as films, DVD’s, working sheets, websites, teaching guides edited by the European Union and others, visits to museums and/or extermination camps, survivor testimony etc. Based on a categorisation of the existing teaching material its using in Luxembourg and France is analysed.



Jeudi / Thursday 11:00 - 13:00 Room: 1150

2.13. Symposium. L'internationalisation de la cécité dans l'Europe du 19e et 20e siècles / Travelling Blindness – Blind Travellers: The internationalization of Blindness in 19th and 20th Century Europe

Coordinator(s): Pieter VERSTRAETE

Discussant: Catherine KUDLICK

The history of educational initiatives for persons with disabilities is preeminently characterized by processes of internationalization. Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth century local educational initiatives taken by doctors, priests and philanthropists in many ways became inspired by international events, writings and connections alike. One only has to think about figures like Johann Jacob Guggenbühl or the Wild boy of Aveyron in the context of education for children with mental disabilities, the conference of Milan in the context of deaf education and the consequences of the First World War for the education of physically disabled persons. Also in the context of blind education one clearly can see the international influencing the local and thus realizing an educational complex where the encounter of the particular and the general, the national and the global, the tangible and the volatile affect continuously the lives of blind persons. To cite but one example one can very well refer to the writings of the French Denis Diderot which throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth century have inspired intellectuals and professionals alike to think about and realize educational initiatives for the blind. Almost at the same time Haüy in France, Blacklock in England and Zeune in Germany became inspired by Diderot’s famous Letter to the blind for those who see (1749) and wrote about or initiated the instruction of the blind by means of ‘new’ didactics and instructional objects. The very goal of this symposium would not only then be to show how local initiatives were influenced and inspired by more encompassing events, historical characters or actions but also to relate this undeniable and inextricable connections to the concrete lives of those towards whom the educational initiatives were directed: the blind themselves. In short, this symposium then – tentatively entitled travelling blindness, blind travellers – aims at examining how the local, the global ànd the experiential interconnect when it comes down to the historical development of educational initiatives for the blind in Europe between 1750 and 1950.



Strangers in a New Land: global modern pedagogies and the emergence of schools for the blind

Maria ROMEIRAS, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

Due to my theoretical background, both as a historian of education and as a researcher of matters dealing with disability history, it became quite natural to me to assume that the study of questions such as difference, stigma, inclusion, physical and psychological topologies and taxonomies, have transformed artificial timelines and disparate knowledge into limited fields of truth. This, among other things, is a heritage of the development of modern school systems in the West and, as my questions are of genealogical and comparative order, I had to deconstruct questions and to demythologize any endowment to concepts and disciplines. After a few years working on these issues, accompanied by neurologists, historians, psychologists, sociologists, doctors, pedagogues and philosophers I am deeply aware that the questions that trouble me cannot be answered without a multidisciplinary gaze. This particular orientation is influenced by studies of Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Ian Hacking, Nikolas Rose, Jorge Ramos do Ó, Oliver Sacks, Jonathan Crary and Erving Goffman. It is on the basis of these writings that I intend to travel through history in search for differently abled modern students, in casu the history of educational initiatives for the blind. My main field of interest has to do with the divergent similarities and dissimilarities – both on the social as well on the individual level – among the blind pupils who lived at the end of the 18th century and the 19th century. I will argue that this educational development cannot be disscociated from developments in the modern occidental world; developments constructed around gazes and scientific truths and where the modern police states normalized the citizens so the wielding of power would not be endangered. As one could say that these were crucial charateristics of the modern institutional system I, in this presentation, would like to establish a comparison between the purposes of general modern school and the development of adapted schools for blind children. For this purpose, I made use of archives from Paris, Lisbon, Milan and many others at the United Kingdom, all of which dealt with the first specialized schools for blind instruction, since the late 18th century. I focused on pedagogical correspondence and internal reports. These texts allowed me to draw a map of interests, discourses and methodologies that circulated in a fast and efficient circuit between these new institutions without disregarding the modern pedagogy as a whole (e.g. the hygienist regulations applied and adapted to the architectural plans for these new schools for blind children or the taxonomic systems of evaluation and control). This also gave way to a global and intense movement of international sharing of diverse pedagogical creations through exhibitions, congresses and specialized magazines as a huge pedagogic movement. I would like to argue that this internationalization made the world a smaller place to live in and intensified the gazes oriented towards modern man. As a result human beings all over the West were transformed into efficient subject and individuals. This not only held truth for able-bodied pupils, but also for blind pupils attending institutions all over Europe. As such, I would like to show on the basis of my archival material how educationalists of all sorts, believing in this possibility and exercise of standardization, transformed blind students into tangible evidence for the rightness and legitimacy of the new education purposes and grammars of modernity.

Disability and Public Relations: Educating a deaf-blind Flemish Girl in a Globalizing World, 1800-1870



Pieter VERSTRAETE, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium; Bart DEMUYNCK, Belgium

In recent years scholars working within the field of Disability Studies/Disability History as well as within the discipline of the History of Education have increasingly become interested in themes related to internationalization in general and globalization in particular. In this context one only has to think about emerging theoretical frameworks like geographies of knowledge and/or the commodification of difference/disability. In this presentation we will show how this focus on global issues and international developments not only can be used in order to study the history of disability and the history of education separately, but precisely can be considered meaningful places where the two disciplines can connect and reinforce each other. Our main goal will be to show how the development of deaf-blind education already at the beginning of the 19th Century was characterized by global and international evolutions. By revealing the long forgotten case of Anna Timmerman – a deaf-blind girl who was educated at the Royal Institute for the Deaf and the Blind of Bruges from 1836 onwards – we want to highlight three main things: First of all, we would like to show how the origins and the history of educational initiatives for deaf-blind persons have become overshadowed by an American perspective. Secondly, and on the basis of the rich archival collection we found at the Bruges institute we will show how the Flemish priest who took care of Timmerman’s education was influenced by reports of earlier European attempts to educate deaf-blind persons. Finally, we will highlight the fact that Anna Timmerman’s education for those in charge of the institution, among other things, was a way to promote their institution and the educational methods applied there. As a result the educational experiment of Charles-Louis Carton with the deaf-blind Anna Timmerman not only will be hold against the background of some international developments, but also will be associated with one of the economic features of globalization, namely the rise of public relations in the context of education as well as disability.

‘Labour brings light’? Traveling knowledge in the field of education of and care for blind people in the Netherlands (1930-1950)

Paul W. VAN TRIGT, VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands

Contemporary historiography shows the importance of the international movement of ideas, texts, theories, instruments, inventions and individuals for the development of the educational field. This movement suggests universalism, but at the same time we realize how the development of knowledge, practices and discourse depends in important ways on particular settings. How should we deal with this tension between universalism and particularism in historical research? I want to deal with this issue by analyzing the Dutch field of education of and care for blind people in 1930s and 1940s. In this period, blindness in the Netherlands was viewed more than ever as a functional deficit with respect to employability and productivity. Receiving a sufficient income from personal labour was regarded as the key to the integration of blind people. The influence of ideas and practices from foreign countries, for example Nazi Germany, on the Dutch network of institutions for the education of and care for blind and visually impaired people is obvious and demonstrable. At the same time the union in which the blind organized themselves, used repertoires from abroad, for example the English marches of the blind, to protest against the Dutch system of social care. In the 1930s the union demanded that social rights be guaranteed by the state, as was already the case in other countries, at a time when the state played a minimal role and Dutch social services depended heavily on charity. The institutional establishment regarded this union as a ‘red danger’, a reference to the struggle between political ideologies that took place at that time. In my paper, I will present one or more case-studies to show how and why (not) the transfer of ideas and practices from abroad took place in the Dutch field of education of and care for blind people in the 1930s and 1940s. The paper is based on research in the archives of blind associations and institutions, and in particular reports from study tours abroad. In explaining the transfers, I will embed the history of disability and education in a (political) historiography about transfer that crossed national boundaries on the one hand, but also use the insights offered by a non-universal, geographic approach of (scientific) knowledge on the other.



Jeudi / Thursday 11:00 - 13:00 Room: 2140

2.14. Symposium. Internationalisation des droits de l'enfant durant le 20e siècle: émergence d'une norme globale? / Internationalization of Children’s Rights during the 20th Century: the Rise of a Global Norm?

Coordinator(s): Zoe MOODY

Discussant: Joëlle DROUX

The issue of children's rights has become key to the theorization of childhood as well as to the practical intervention framework of specialists. On an international level, the almost universal ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989, hereafter CRC) is the most notable illustration of this commitment to children and to their human rights. Ensuring the well-being of the child, guaranteeing his/her best interests, whilst vindicating his/her right to participation and to education are probably as close as we could come to common shared values. However and beyond this seeming general agreement, significant variations in Children’s rights (national) regimes on the one hand as well as meaning systems on the other can and have to be noted. Indeed, comparative studies underline how child well-being -which can be related to the realization of children’s rights and their institutionalization- fluctuates significantly, even among rich countries that do have enough resources for the implementation of the CRC. Moreover, some dissident voices have been raised concerning the issue of children's rights as a whole and/or their internationalization/globalization. The fact that three States have still not signed the CRC, despite the twice-postponed United Nations aim of universal ratification, illustrates this resistance. In the field, some critics emphasize the so-called western concepts deeply embedded in the CRC such as those of child development and of an essential understanding of childhood. Diverse national legal contexts do produce different implementation models, but distinct political orders, socio-legal and educational traditions and cultures surely generate particular Children’s rights regimes and meaning systems. Thus, can the process and modes of internationalization of Children’s rights during the 20th century and that of the institutionalization of the CRC explain the current variations in, or resistance to, their implementation? Mobilizing results of current case studies as well as epistemological work, the panel aims to address this global issue, in a historical and interdisciplinary perspective. The following complementary questions will guide the common reflection to explore how the concept/project of children’s rights emerged, spread, mutated, was translated, received and disputed in different countries as well as on the international level, and in various disciplines. (a) How did the concept of children’s rights or other related unifying concepts (e.g. the best interests of the child, children’s perspectives, child’s participation) circulate, in the educational field notably, and what were the changes in meaning at the time of their transfer from one country, culture or scientific culture to another? (b) What were the mainstream legal, educational, political, etc. discourses, justifications for and implications of processes of internationalization and/or globalization of children’s rights? (c) Which transmission channels were used or contributed to the circulation of ideas on and/or of children’s rights and what were the targeted groups? (d) What are the different forms of children’s rights regimes, and their variation from one period to another, from one country to another, from one or several discipline(s) to (an)other(s) and how do they interact with the educational field?

Children’s rights as a travelling concept and travelling concepts on children’s rights



Frédéric DARBELLAY, Institut Universitaire Kurt Bösch (IUKB), Suisse

Les disciplines des sciences humaines et sociales (histoire, sociologie, linguistique, philosophie, littérature, etc.) se constituent et se développent par la création de domaines de savoirs relativement cloisonnés, prenant sens dans des contextes nationaux, institutionnels et historiques toujours spécifiques. Les différentes disciplines s’identifient et sont identifiables par leurs propres langages, concepts opératoires, théories et méthodes spécialisés. Si cette disciplinarisation des univers de connaissances demeure la pratique dominante dans le contexte universitaire actuel, il n’en demeure pas moins que, de manière plus ou moins souterraine, les savoirs in vivo circulent entre et au-delà des frontières disciplinaires; ils mutent, se transforment et se diffusent au travers des multiples cultures scientifiques. Ce constat épistémologique général du dialogisme intrinsèque des savoirs se rejoue dans le contexte des sciences de l’éducation et, pour ce qui nous concerne ici en particulier, de la problématique connexe des Droits de l’enfant et de leur internationalisation durant le 20ème siècle. Les Droits de l’enfant offrent un terrain privilégié d’observation de la circulation entre plusieurs savoirs disciplinaires et leur intégration/fédération dans un champ académique émergent. Ils proposent dans le même temps un réseau de concepts circulants à travers une multitude de sphères d’activités éducatives, sociales, juridiques, politiques et culturelles. Cette contribution a pour objectif de croiser quatre axes complémentaires: sur la base d’éléments de réflexion et de cadrage épistémologique sur la circulation des savoirs (a), nous montrerons comment cette dynamique cognitive s’active sur le plan théorique dans le champ académique des Droits de l’enfant (b) et en quoi elle permet justement la diffusion des droits de l’enfant comme concept et pratique circulante dans l’espace socio-éducatif (c), impliquant plusieurs modalités d’échanges et de transferts inter- et transnationaux sur fond de dialectique entre universalisation/normalisation des discours conventionnels et pratiques singulières et variationnelles en contexte locaux (d).

Globalism and Insularity: The United States and the Resistance to Universalizing Children’s Rights

Michael GROSSBERG, Indiana University, USA

Many if not most Americans think of their country as child-centered. As evidence, some point to a commitment to children’s rights that stretches back at least to the late nineteenth century. And so it does. In the last decades of that century rights for children became a critical part of social movements like child labor and school reform and a new discourse and set of normative beliefs and practices on its own that was embraced by young and old alike. Children’s rights became central to American politics and law and children’s experiences; they have remained so ever since. They not only found expression in a series of ‘Children’s Bills of Rights’ but expanded over the course of the twentieth century to include both protective and participatory rights. And from the start many American advocates of children’s rights asserted that they were essential to childhood itself. Their claims for the rights of the young as basic and universal human rights fueled the expansion of children’s rights and culminated in a great surge of children’s rights at mid-century and calls for the ratification of the 1989 United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child. During those same years, however, resistance to children’s rights also persisted in the United States. Though it took a variety of forms, opposition repeatedly coalesced to resist universalizing those rights. Resistance first arose among those who fought campaigns to create national children’s rights by asserting the singular legitimacy of the states to govern children in the American federal republic and thus to determine the scope of their rights. Those sentiments also fueled opposition to attempts at globalizing children’s rights. For instance, the United States is one of only two nations that have not ratified the 1989 United Nations Convention; indeed no American president has even been willing to submit the Convention to the ratification process. Equally consequential have been repeated demands by American political, legal, and civic leaders that the United States reject attempt to accept global understandings of children’s rights such as the widespread ban on capital punishment for minors. As a result, the universalization of children’s rights has been contested in the United States as long as such rights have been asserted. In my presentation, I will discuss how and why these divergent views on universalizing children’s rights developed in the United States over the last century and suggest their implications not only for the meaning of children’s rights in the American republic but also for other nations that have resisted dominant global understandings of children’s rights.

A glocal understanding of children’s rights: from the “Geneva discourses” to the field

Zoe MOODY, Université de Genève et HEP Valais, Switzerland

At first sight, the concept of the rights of the child appears to be one of the successful 20th Century global unifying projects. Guaranteeing the child’s best interests and well-being, whilst implementing his/her right to education and to participation notably, seems to have lead the international community to a general agreement. The translation of children’s human rights into international hard law and the near universal ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989, hereafter UNCRC) can be understood as the culmination of the process. However, significant variations in children’s rights national regimes on the one hand as well as meaning systems on the other can and have to be noted. Those variations could indicate a relative diversity in the understandings and retranslations of the UNCRC and of the broader concept of children’s rights. Moreover, dissident voices have been raised recently against the UNCRC, highlighting the underlying western images of the child it transmits, and the global hegemony it induces. This paper aims to contribute to a complex understanding of the internationalization of the concept of children’s rights in a historical and interdisciplinary perspective. On the basis of new primary sources, collected in international and supranational (non-)governmental organizations, an analysis of the genesis, the adoption by supranational instances and the diffusion of three institutionalized discourses – namely the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1924) and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) – will be proposed. The paper will (1) illustrate how the concept of children’s rights or other related unifying concepts (e.g. the best interests of the child, child’s participation, the right to education) circulated during the 20th Century, (2) identify the main actors implicated, as well as the channels and methods utilized, and (3) highlight the mainstream legal and educational arguments invoked to justify the universalization of the UNCRC. It will also argue that the internationalization of children’s rights should be understood in a glocal perspective in order to overcome a direct top-down implementation understanding.

"They are not like us". Cultural Heterogeneity and Children's Rights in the Swedish Welfare State 1945-1990



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