Mapping international education: an historical survey 1893-1944 Robert Sylvester Mapping the Territory Claimed by International Education in the 20th Century

Download 141.92 Kb.
Size141.92 Kb.
  1   2   3

Robert Sylvester
Mapping the Territory Claimed by International Education in the 20th Century
The conceptual maps that we are currently using to construct our modern sense of an emergent field of international education are largely untested and incomplete. A more realistic and contoured description of international education requires possibly a complete reconsideration of the history of international educational activities over the past 150 years. This is needed, if for no other reason than to examine critically the current mythology of international education that sees the field simply as a direct outcome of the horrors of two World Wars or a by-product of the second age of globalisation (Friedman, 2000) that followed.
Among the most distinctive problems in international education research is that of limiting the term international education within a realistic field of vision. For example, university libraries using the Library of Congress catalogue system currently designate Ôinternational educationÕ in their online catalogues as Ôworks on education for international understanding; world citizenship, etcÕ (see Tufts Library Catalog online at, and Harvard University Library Catalog online at Such a simple and practical mapping of the term international education, while widespread in its use, has yet to be explored in a disciplined fashion in the research literature. It especially needs to be tested against the depth of historical material on international education before World War II which has recently come to light. In another effort towards defining international education, the distinguished encyclopedist, Torsten HusŽn (1994) observes that international education combines aspects of both theory and practice: ÔInternational education refers to both the objectives and content of certain educational pursuits and to the institutionalization of such activities.Õ (Husen, 1994: 2972). HusŽn also summarizes the goals of international education as being: Ôto increase the awareness of students and to promote reflection and research on global issues.Õ (HusŽn, 1994: 2973). The mapping of international education, therefore, could be visualized as embracing a field of vision wide enough to contain global issues related to both international understanding and world citizenship, while at the same time being expressed in both theory and practice.
The research problem with regard to a mapping of the term Ôinternational educationÕ became more evident in the literature of the 1990s. Arum and Van de Water (1992) approached the problem of definition directly:
What is international education? We use the term more and more yet seem to pay less and less attention to what it means. Why? Do we assume everyone knows what it means and agrees with the way we use it? Has it become so generic that it does not require any definition? Or is the term Ôinternational educationÕ so ambiguous, so nebulous, that it defies any easy definition so it receives none at all? ... As we look into the future, it is increasingly important to define the terms that define our emerging profession and work toward a higher level of understanding regarding what we mean when we use the term Ôinternational educationÕ (Arum and Van de Water 1992: 191).
Arum and Van de Water (1992) then refer to Butts (1969) who believed: ÔTo be sure, it often had an imprecise meaning, because so many different people have assigned different enterprises to it in the course of its usage ... Much of the trouble in the past has been that the term has had multiple and often vague connotations for many different types of activitiesÕ (Butts 1969: 7) cited in Arum and Van de Water 1992: 193). Arum and Van de Water then observe: ÔTo make matters worse, professionals and non-professionals alike use some of the following terms interchangeably: international education, international affairs, international studies, international programs, global education, multicultural education, global studies, the international perspective, and the international dimensionÕ (p 193). It is possible that the conflating of a constellation of existing academic disciplines in order to construct a working model of Ôinternational educationÕ became an increasingly overworked device in the descriptions of international education after World War II.
Scanlon and Shields (1968) much earlier described a further and equally fundamental research problem related to international education. They noted both an absence of a general history of international education and a specific lack of historical studies of international education before World War II:
ÔSince international education can be traced to antiquity, it would seem that the literature of the field would provide an excellent starting point for resolving the question [of establishing an historical lineage]. However, the state of the documentation is such that there is little accessible material for the period before World War II and too much material... after the war to handle easily. Both periods present the serious scholar with complex research problemsÕ. (Scanlon and Shields 1968: xii).
Scanlon and Shields (1968) then go on to note a complete lack of historical studies in international education which would assist in establishing a lineage, developing a conceptual framework and eventually denoting both an indicative methodology and descriptive content for international education. These historical inadequacies have recently become more sensitive to treatment using the advantages of modern information technology combined with traditional historical research work.
This article sets out first to demonstrate that there is a wealth of historical material on self-described, international education activities from before World War II. This article also aims to review, with significant range and depth, important institutional and research documents related to the nature of international education in the same period. It is hoped that it will be followed by another historical survey of the mapping of the territory claimed by international education activists and researchers from the years 1945-1994. The two articles would then provide a detailed 20th century contour mapping of an intended conceptual landscape and territory of what we know today as the ÔfieldÕ of international education. The present article, in effect, attempts to bring together historical materials on international education which, until now, were either unacknowledged or never considered side by side in any serious attempt to outline the range of activities in international educational before World War II.
This lack of a body of serious work reflecting the early twentieth century history of international education leave attempts to approach any conceptual modelling of the field without the benefit of a proper historical perspective, or without a grounding in the knowledge of previous descriptive models of international education. It is hoped that this initial uncovering of the earlier territorial mapping of the field from the first half of the 20th century will enable other researchers interested in international education to proceed, with increased confidence, in further consideration of possible content, methodology and research frameworks for the field.
BrickmanÕs Baseline Bibliography of International Education in 1950
William Brickman (1950), Distinguished Professor and historian from the University of Illinois, published the only comprehensive research bibliography on the history of international education (of the modern era) in the Encyclopedia of Educational Research. Brickman is considered by Scanlon and Shields (1968) to be a Ôleading historian of international educationÕ. BrickmanÕs bibliography indicates that there were more than thirty formal plans for some sort of international educational organization put forward between the years 1814-1914 from, among others, Jullien, Kemeny, Andrews and Peeters (Brickman 1950: 619). Brickman also offers a range of defining characteristics for the field:
ÔThe term international education may be applied to the various educational and cultural relations among nations. In this broad sense it encompasses comparative education..... More narrowly, it refers to international efforts at cooperation and harmony in the exchange of teachers and students, rehabilitation of backward cultural areas, mutual understanding through school instruction, and the like.... Although Ôinternational educationÕ has been often used in professional writings and sometimes in names of organizations, it has not gained currency as a designation of a field of professional studyÕ (Brickman 1950: 617-618).
In one of the few attempts in the 20th century to approach the task of providing a range of historical documents related to international education, Stewart Fraser and William Brickman published a documentary history of the field (Fraser and Brickman 1968) which focused on the major works which were evident from the nineteenth century. They give credit to David Scanlon (1960) who several years earlier published a previous documentary history of international education. In the concluding remarks of the introductory chapter Fraser and Brickman (1968) provide several characteristic descriptions of the historical context of international and comparative education:
ÔThe early nineteenth century is clearly a watershed in the development of a systematic and methodological study of both international and comparative education. Prior to the nineteenth century, the terms cosmopolitanism and universalism were accepted and understood, but the idea of internationalism was virtually unknown... The emergence of newly created European states and newly freed Latin American republics, the greater awareness of Africa and Asia, and the discovery of the contributions of Hindu, Buddhist, and Moslem educators during the beginning of the 19th century all contributed to the emergence of comparative education as a new field of inquiryÕ (Fraser and Brickman 1968: 18-19).
However, international education has not enjoyed the benefits of the depth and range of serious research that has characterized the field of comparative education. Brickman (1977), Kandel (1933), and Wilson (1994) each provide comprehensive evidence of the historical depth and range of studies in comparative education and its own sense of a visible historical lineage.
The History of International Education and the Rise of the Nation-State
Scanlon (1960) observed that the 19th century marked the start of great national systems of public education. The motives behind these systems varied, in his view, from the authoritarianism of a Frederick William to the humanism of a Pestalozzi, but all were committed in one way or another to the advancement of the interests of the nation-state. It is against this background of such aggressive nationalism that the efforts of early pioneers in international education should be examined. In ScanlonÕs view these pioneers should be viewed as historically unique:
ÔFor fundamentally all were out of step with the nineteenth century. In an era of provincial loyalties, they argued for loyalty to mankind. And in an era of mass education for patriotism, they contended that the school was the only agency capable of advancing education across national boundaries. Little wonder that their proposals were viewed as radical, visionary, and utopianÕ (Scanlon 1960: 3-4).
However, in an encyclopedia article (Butts 1971) on international education, Butts gave a broad, historically deeper context for the field when he noted: ÔIn a more restricted sense, international education did not appear until modern nation-states did; therefore, the term more usually refers to the educational relations among nation-states from the sixteenth century onwardÕ (Butts 1971: 165). In that respect John Amos Comenius (1592-1670), a Moravian bishop who is sometimes called the Ôteacher of nationsÕ, is widely considered the seminal figure in international education. He proposed the establishment of a ÔPansophic CollegeÕ where learned men from the nations of the world would collect and unify existing knowledge toward Ôinternational understandingÕ (Brickman 1950; Carr 1945; Scanlon 1960). CompayrŽ (1903) credits Comenius with writing twenty books and teaching in twenty cities, and compares his work favorably with that of Galileo and Bacon in terms of his historical standing in the field of education (p 122). Hans (1964) cites ComeniusÕ recently discovered Pampaedia where the 17th Century scholar insisted that Ôall men without exception should be educated for humanityÕ (p 24).
The next major figure in international education did not appear until the 18th century. Marc-Antoine Jullien (1775-1848) proposed the establishment of a Ôcommission speciale dÕeducationÕ to collect information on educational activities throughout Europe in an 1817 publication entitled ÔEsquisse et vues preliminaires dÕun ouvrage sur lÕeducation comparŽe (A Preliminary Outline of a Study in Comparative Education) in Paris (Brickman 1950: 619; Carr 1945). JullienÕs pamphlet was saved for historians by Kemeny (Scanlon 1960). Good (1960) credits Jullien with the first use of the term comparative education. Large portions of JullienÕs pamphlet were published in the first volume of the earliest American professional journal, The American Journal of Education (Vol 1, July 1926 from Kandel in Carr 1944: 43). JullienÕs pamphlet is reprinted, in part, in ScanlonÕs (1960) Documentary History of International Education where Jullien was credited with the practical outline for a suggested international institution to study education (Scanlon, 1960: 54).
The period of the 1850s to the first decades of the twentieth century was replete with a dramatic growth in increasingly highly co-ordinated commercial and professional international conferences and organisations. La Fontaine (1911) observes that from 1843 to 1910 there were more than 2,000 international meetings, with 800 of those meetings taking place in the first decade of the new century. He also noted that as of 1910 there were over 250 Ôcentral offices of all kinds having for their object the study of questions of general human interest from a universal point of viewÕ (p 244). Many of these arose from the holding of regular international ÔexpositionsÕ starting in London in 1851. The most significant appearance of international education at these international expositions (which were later called WorldÕs Fairs) was seen in 1893 in Chicago.
The World Congress of Education of the Columbian Exposition of 1893
A first and significant opportunity to view the early perspective of the meaning and mapping of the territory claimed as international education is evident from the historical documents of the meeting of educators from around the world at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The International Educational Congresses of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago were hosted by the Educational Committee of the World Congress Auxiliary which included 91 sessions (July 17-26), and by the National Education Association (US) which included 50 sessions (July 25-28) with 27 countries represented. One departmental congress alone, Higher Education, had 326 vice-presidents (serving as chairpersons of the workshops) in attendance (CompayrŽ 1893, NEA 1894). Many observers considered that most of the countries of the world were represented (Stoker 1933: xviii; Monroe 1919; Gregory 1938: 94). The published proceedings of the Congress (NEA 1894) indicate that there were at least 58 documents presented by non-US participants in the form of addresses, papers or appendices. In total these documents from ÔforeignÕ sources constituted a significant portion of the total material under consideration by the congress.
WatermanÕs (1893) report indicates that the purpose of the 1893 congress was that Ôof bringing together representatives of all nations, and obtaining the results of their thought and experience in some great field of human activityÕ (p 159). Waterman further indicates that:
ÔThere was a strong sense of unity and fellowship underlying the proceedings that gave to them a far greater influence than is usually exerted by such gatherings. Eminent men and women had come from all parts of the world to meet on common ground, discuss common interests, and contribute their best to the common fund of experience which will shape the future of educationÕ (p 158).
Gabriel CompayrŽÕs (1893) report of the Congress highlighted his perceptions as the delegate from the government of the French Republic. He was impressed with the openness of the discussion in comparison with the Paris meeting of 1889. He noted that there was no limitation to the subjects to be considered and that the range of the discussion resulted in the record of the Congress being Ôa veritable encyclopŽdie pŽdagogiqueÕ (p 260). CompayrŽ, like Waterman, also highlighted the leading role of women in the Congress. He listed the countries participating as including England, Russia, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, France, Japan, Australia, Canada, Chile, Uruguay and the host, the United States.
In his address of welcome to the delegates of the Congress, Charles Bonney (1894) characterized their deliberations in the following manner:
ÔWhile the learned world ponders the new educational problems and seeks a means of their solution, a new and tremendous influence enters the field and asks attention. It is the spirit of the new age, demanding international fraternity and cooperation in every department of civilized life. The institutions of learning have more than willingly responded to this call, and have manifested a desire to accede to it so far as sound reason may lead the way. A true and enduring educational system must have its national and international as well as its local relationsÕ (p 18).
Bonney (1894) further described a new international vision of education in the world;
ÔThe new education, extended as it will be throughout the world, will do as much as, if not more than, any other agency to promote the unity and peace of mankind. For by education we mean not merely the training of the intellect; we mean also the culture of the heart and the hand. The golden circle of education embraces not only literature, science and art, but it includes as well the whole broad domain of virtue, morals, and religionÕ (p 20).
In his welcoming comments to the Congress, the delegate from Russia, Prince Serge Wolkonsky (1894) argued passionately for serious consideration to be given to a nascent field of international education when he observed:
ÔInternational, Educational. May these two words be written in fiery letters on the dark sky of this summer night, so as to shine for every one who will attend the sessions of this congress. They who will treat an educational question will remember that, even in the case when it has arisen from purely national considerations, it must have in its results a value from the ÒinternationalÓ point of view; for education, if not aiming to inspire humanitarian feelings of international brotherhood, is but a dead letter.... And so the union of these two words, ÒinternationalÓ and ÒeducationalÓ - may it be blessed; may it resound in the hearts of all who will be present here; may it inspire the words and acts of the congress with great ideas of universal impartiality; may it loudly proclaim that every one of us belongs, first, to humanity, and, secondly, to one or another nation; may it teach that there is more honour for any one of us in being a man than in being an American, or a Russian, or a German, or an Italian, or a Greek, or a Japanese, or whatever else it may beÕ (pp 38-39).
While intended neither as a direct, nor as a formal, definition of Ôinternational educationÕ the published record of the proceedings of the 1893 Congress presents the researcher in international education with a fertile source of primary historical material which reflects the unique utopian vision of many educators in the West at the end of the 19th century. While the evidence of a reflective practice of international education was decades away with the establishment of the World Federation of Education Associations (WFEA, 1927a) and the International Bureau of Education (IBE 1929), in the 1920s it is clear that a consideration of the documents from the 1893 congress tends to weaken significantly the case often made for international education to be considered the product of the ashes of the Second World War. While the material available was largely, if not exclusively, idealistic and utopian, the sentiments placed on the agenda at this meeting in Chicago represented themes and aims persistently represented in self-described international education efforts continuously over the next five decades.
KemŽnyÕs Framework of International Education in 1900
The first formal descriptive mapping of the territory of international education came at the dawn of the 20th century when Franz KemŽny published ÔEntwurf einer Internationalen Gesammt-Akademie: WeltakademieÕ in 1900 in Budapest, Hungary calling for a world educational organization (weltakamemie) (Scott 1912; Scanlon 1960: 10-11). This pamphlet in Budapest proposed six areas in which international education could be developed. They were: 1) studies of educational systems in various countries; 2) international conferences for teachers; 3) international codes for the organization and structure of education; 4) the teaching of human rights based on Western democratic principles; 5) countering xenophobia and extreme nationalism, especially in textbooks; and 6) the need to eradicate racial prejudice (Scanlon 1959). KemŽny (cited in Butts 1944) later articulated six aspects of what he called Ôinternational educationÕ in 1914 as part of his plan for an international institute of education. The original list of items from 1900 constituting Ôinternational educationÕ was adjusted by KemŽny by 1914. The aspects of international education were then listed in 1914 as:
Ô1) State of education in foreign countries (descriptions, statistics, etc; 2) Organization by which several countries benefit (conferences, exhibition, etc; 3) Efforts and measures aiming at drawing together, or even unifying, education on certain points (organization, legislation, rights and privileges, etc; 4) International or world education (based on universal rights of man and on the knowledge of modern languages); 5) Education for peace (to counteract chauvinism); 6) Inter-racial education (to counteract race prejudice)Õ (Butts, 1944: 26).
In presenting this material from KemŽnyÕs 1914 proposal, Rossello (in ButtsÕ 1944 translation) in a footnote (p 26) indicates that ÔThe term Òinternational educationÓ leads to confusion and we prefer the expression Òeducation on an international plane,Ó although it is longer.Õ Rossello (trans. Butts 1944) also cited KemenyÕs interest in cultural internationalism:
ÔHe does not wish to weaken the cultural autonomy of any nation. There again, he does not oppose nationalism to internationalism, which would hinder cultural internationalism by setting up a reaction. The two tendencies - national and international - should progress concurrently and develop into a higher unity. It would however, be futile to try to reach cultural internationalism - the groundwork of all internationalism - without first developing international educationÕ (p 26) [emphasis added].
While KemŽnyÕs work appears detailed enough for consideration as a preliminary conceptual model for international education, there is no evidence that his ideas were taken up in any practical manner in succeeding decades. It was not until the reconstruction efforts following the Second World War that we begin to see significant detail in the literature on international education devoted to the building of conceptual frameworks for international education (see Arndt and Everett, 1951; Carr, 1944, 1945; Kenworthy 1947; Kenworthy 1952; Quillen, 1948; Rossello 1943; Schnapper, 1943, UNESCO 1949; and Wilson, 1947).

Download 141.92 Kb.

Share with your friends:
  1   2   3

The database is protected by copyright © 2022
send message

    Main page