Decolonizing Knowledge: Undoing and Reconstructing how we Learn

Decolonizing Knowledge: Undoing and Reconstructing how we Learn

When British-Ghanaian philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah was asked during a lecture about cultural belonging, he suggested avoiding falling victim to the questionable idea that culture belongs to specific groups. Further, if the dubious concept of ‘Westerner’ were to disappear, it needed not be replaced with something else but that we should rather learn to relate to people in different ways, respectful of each other’s differences without an excess of identification. The lecture host (an English woman), cautiously navigating from question to assertion, said in relation to Western civilization, “But what holds us all together are these things you’ve sort of praised: liberalism, human rights, rule of law, all those things. That gives us the right to choose, it gives us control over who we are. There are people around the world, particularly in Islamic countries, who don’t have that kind of choice. And these things ARE Western” (Appiah, 2016, m.30-36).

This view that Western knowledge and culture are somehow the core of a ‘universal knowledge’ and yet very much ‘remaining the history of the West,’ according to Tuhiwai-Smith (2012, p.66), has existed for centuries. In fact, she explains, the colonized cultures and their forms of knowledge were historically repositioned in a way that would allow for the validation of colonial domination and authority by being labeled as ‘oriental’ or ‘outsider’ by colonial powers. In line with this, Mitova (2020) defines the decolonization of knowledge as the necessity to undo our way of thinking about knowledge and to reconstruct it by learning anew and in new ways rather than those imposed on people, institutions, or nations through the process of colonization (Mitova, 2020; Wiredu, 2002).

Because Eurocentrism has succeeded in creating the idea of universal knowledge, Mignolo (2009) encourages us to ask ourselves: who and when, how, and where is knowledge generated?  Grosfoguel (2013) argues (in a description that matches my own experience as a doctoral student in the UK) that the social theory canon in Western universities has become dominated by a few men from five countries: Italy, France, England, Germany, and the USA; to this, I will further add that on a personal level, 80% of my Social Theory classes not only involved men from only two of those five countries (Germany and France) and but also that they were all white, adding an additional element to the self-arrogated intellectual (and sexist) domination: what Grosfoguel (2012) called epistemic racism. I am not arguing that every one of those social theorists was either of those things, but the recognition of their work should not come at the cost of the institutional eradication of other forms of knowledge that, especially since the 1980s, have begun to reshape and re-inform other intellectual traditions: feminist social epistemology, Eastern, African, Africana, Latin American and ‘Continental’(Mitova, 2020). 

Lessons from the Global South

Latin America presents us with a couple of valuable examples from which the academy can perhaps learn; one of them is in Chile, where, as Nuñez (2017) details, beginning in 2008, the Universidad Catolica de Temuco began to tackle the issue of curricular Eurocentrism within their teacher training programs. They started by offering a degree called “Elementary Intercultural Pedagogy in the Mapuche[1] context”. They also experimented by offering a program titled “Pedagogical Experience in Intercultural Approaches”, geared towards increasing sociocultural indigenous knowledge amongst graduate students in Education.

Burman (2016) offers a somewhat similar example from his experience in Bolivia. While researching within an Aymara community there, he was able to talk to a number of indigenous activists who remained deeply skeptical of Evo Morales’[2] policies regarding decolonization and interculturality. The activists viewed these policies as a disguised perpetuation of the colonial mode of knowledge production in Bolivia. While the Bolivian government did create indigenous universities (something that has not happened in Chile) and introduced reforms into the national educational system, many activists distrusted these policies and engaged in ‘epistemic and ontological disobedience’ (ibid, p.20). The activists opened their own spaces for knowledge creation, such as indigenous universities that function outside the national framework, as well as community sessions and seminars where indigenous people, including intellectuals, are invited to guide debates and deliberations regarding ways to preserve their knowledge and therefore, their social experience. These acts of disobedience are guided, according to Burman, by defiance to three elements that in his view have become an intrinsic part of Bolivia’s intellectual colonization:

 

“…the subjugation of subjectivities (“Be who we want you to be!”); epistemic domination (“Know what we want you to know and in the way we want you to know; create the kind of knowledge we want you to and in the way we want you to!”); and ontological domination (“Live in the one and only world we recognize as real!”). (Burman, 2016, p. 21)

 

Of course, the issue here is not the number, quality, or contributions of Eurocentric philosophers; as Dabashi (2015) elaborates, the question is not how Eurocentric Europeans are, but rather how European thinking has continued to reach a level of universality that has come to the detriment of non-European visions. Perhaps these examples from Latin American nations can offer us lessons to draw from that would allow us to embrace the fact that, as has been argued and widely demonstrated (de Sousa Santos, 2001, 2014, 2018; Smith, 2012; Apple, 2011, 2012, 2013; Semali and Kincheloe, 1999), there is no one single source of knowledge, not one single knowledge pursuit and not one single, linear development of knowledge.

The challenge for Western higher education institutions is to start thinking about ways to give these non-Eurocentric perspectives and knowledge not only wider recognition but also a broader space within their curriculum. As new feminist, Eastern, African, Latin American, and indigenous voices emerge within the academy, we must ask, how much are we paying attention and how much are we listening to them?

Gaston Bacquet

Gaston Bacquet

Associate Tutor, University of Glasgow

Gaston Bacquet works as an Associate Tutor at the University of Glasgow, where he supervises master’s dissertations within the TESOL program and where he is also a first-year PhD student in Education. His research seeks to develop inclusive teaching practices in Latin American classrooms using an intersection of Critical Pedagogy and non-Western knowledge systems.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gaston-bacquet-59a38b9b/
Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Gaston_Bacquet2
Orcid: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9802-7249

References and Further Reading

[1] Mapuches are the largest indigenous community in Chile, and Temuco, the city where the university in question is based, is located near a large Mapuche enclave in the south of Chile

[2] Evo Morales, a former farmer and an Aymara person himself, was the president of Bolivia from 2006 to 2019.

 

Appiah, K.A. (2018). The lies that bind: Rethinking Identity. New York: Liveright (Based on his 2016 BBC Reith Lectures).

Apple, M.(2011). Democratic education in neoliberal and neoconservative times. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 21(1), 21–31.

Apple, M. (2012b). Knowledge, power, and education: The selected works of Michael W. Apple. New York: Routledge.

Apple, M. (2013). Can Education Change Society? New York; Routledge.

Burman, A. (2016). Indigeneity and Decolonization in the Bolivian Andes: Ritual Practice and Activism. Lanham: Lexington Books.

Dabashi, H. (2015). Can Non-Europeans Think? London: Zed Books.

de Sousa Santos, B. (2001). Nuestra America. Theory, Culture & Society, 18(2–3), 185–217.

de Sousa Santos, B. (2014). Epistemologies of the South. New York: Routledge.

De Sousa Santos, B. (2018). The end of the cognitive empire: the coming of age of epistemologies of the South. Durham: Duke University Press.

Grosfoguel, R. (2012). The Dilemmas of Ethnic Studies in the United States: Be­tween Liberal Multiculturalism, Identity Politics, Disciplinary Colonization, and Decolonial Epistemologies. Human Archi­tecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowl­edge, X (I), 81-90.

Grosfoguel, R. (2013). Epistemic Racism/Sexism, Westernized Universities and the Four Genocides/Epistemicides of the Long Sixteenth Century, in Araujo, M. & Rodriguez Maeso, S. (Eds.), Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge, Debates on History and Power in Europe and the Americas. London: Palgrave

Mignolo, W. (2009). Epistemic Disobedience, Independent Thought and Decolonial Freedom. Theory, Culture & Society. 26(7-8), 159-181. 

Mitova, V. (2020). Decolonising Knowledge Here and Now, Philosophical Papers, 49(2), 191-212.

Nuñez, D. (2017). Reflecxiones en torno a la interculturalidad y la Educacion Superior en Chile. Polyphōnia, 1, 72-94.

Semali, L.M. and Kincheloe, J.L. (1999) What is indigenous knowledge? Voices from the academy (Eds.) New York/London: Falmer

Tuhiwai-Smith, L. (2012). Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous People. London: Zed (2nd Edition).

Wiredu, K. (2002). Conceptual decolonization as an imperative in contemporary African philosophy: some personal reflections. Rue Descartes, 36(2), 53-64.

ECER 2021Geneva – Theme: Milestones and Challenges

ECER 2021Geneva – Theme: Milestones and Challenges

ECER 2021 Geneva will focus on ‘Education and Society: expectations, prescriptions, reconciliations’. How relevant is this theme today in this specific context? Why is the city of Geneva a fertile ground in the field of education and of the development of the individual for hosting debates on reconciling societal expectations (sometimes disparate, diffracted or even contradictory) with the realities on the ground, and the needs of those involved in education, teaching and training?

This contribution from Dr Stefan Bodea aims to provide some socio-historical and cultural milestones which should support decanting the essence of the Geneva call for contributions covering this theme: an ‘urgent’ call, of fairly obvious topicality, stemming above all from the need to understand the tensions, resistances, pressures and cleavages with which the educator/teacher/trainer is confronted on a daily basis.

 

Education for All and its endeavours

Thanks to the decree of the Reformation, the birth of the Republic of Geneva (21 May 1536) coincided with the creation of the first compulsory and free public school in the world. Elementary education in Calvin’s City thus became accessible to and free of charge for all, regardless of the pupils’ status, and “the invalid, the orphan, the widow, the old man, and any need for assistance is taken into consideration in the same spirit”[1].

In the collective memory, this historical vocation of the Geneva educational institution even outweighs its other assets, such as the international reputation of its teachers[2]. Indeed, as Joy Kündig notes, “the most important aspect of Calvin’s Academy is not the great names of its teachers or students, but the fact that it really contributed to the democratisation of studies […] In Geneva, education was really for everyone” (Kündig, J., op.cit., p. 59).

However, although Geneva is generally considered to have successfully met this challenge, this success has always required, for the education actors engaged in this democratisation process, the handling of numerous tensions between expectations and feasibility, between injunctions and realities on the ground, between official prescriptions and the real needs of the students and educators. From this point of view, it can be argued that teachers should be considered as divided actors, ‘plural individuals’ as the sociologist Bernard Lahire would say; not insofar as self-unity would be an illusion, but because of the heterogeneity and the often-contradictory nature of the expectations that guide their social actions. Whether they are experienced as professional ‘sufferings’ or as structuring challenges of the educational praxis, these expectations seem to render more complex, or even make more difficult, the necessary construction of what Jacques Ardoino[3]calls the “authorisation capacity” as a process of “progressive and continuous creation of the self, both of social as of personal origin”, which is to be distinguished from “complacency in conformity, and therefore from the tendency to reproduce, characteristic of social practices which are artificial by dint of wishing to be only professional, strategic and technical”.

For the societal call for the creative accomplishment of educational action seems itself contradictory in that it is a matter of both “learning to enter the order of the law” and “developing the capacity for transgression”, which characterise the “impossible and yet necessary” professions[4].

From this point of view, ECER 2021’s invitation to reflect on and work towards the reconciliation of ‘divided’ socio-political/socio-cultural/socio-economic demands implies, among other things, working on the concrete modalities that today allow for socially meaningful, legitimate and acceptable articulations and adjustments of the different positions, roles, attitudes, experiences, convictions, options… of the actors concerned.

But what are the forces likely to generate such adjustments? They will undoubtedly be listed, discussed in detail, questioned and dealt with within the 33 EERA networks. We will limit ourselves here to pointing out essentially two of them, which fall within the scope of two types of problems widely shared by the actors in the field of education.

– The first concerns the need to work towards inclusive education that is permeable to difference and diversity, while ensuring a balance for all, through shared values and practices. In concrete terms, this means, among other things, that the school system can no longer “presuppose of all the pupils it welcomes what only some of them have built up before and outside their school experience and not to build it up explicitly in those who do not have it”[5]. We are indeed dealing with the issue of the equitable educational provision and the construction of common bases and habitus, concerned with considering the differential particularities of educational support and, in general, the heterogeneity of the social, political and cultural environment.

– The second has to do with the relationship between the requirements formulated by educational policies and the real needs of learners/students, taking into account the expectations of civil society. This is seriously considered in Geneva, where teaching, from the outset, has been thought to be directly linked to practice. In this respect, we should not forget the importance given in Geneva to the empirical and experimental paradigms that developed in Europe at the end of the 19th century in educational sciences.

Nevertheless, it must be admitted that nowadays, in the field of teacher education, this articulation is the subject of numerous debates, particularly with regard to the relationship of trainees to the academicisation of training, following the importance given to research in recent times. Beyond the variations of the relationship between training and academic research (which can be broadly grouped into two categories: training by and respectively to or for research), this phenomenon seems to produce painful effects on the trainees’ side; when certain aspects of the theoretical content prove to be of little use in the exercise of their profession or do not immediately show the empirical interest of their exploitation. Consequently, looking into the empirical potential of the conceptual systems used in training, in line with the specificities and needs of the field, emerges as an important subject for further reflection and study.

While there are many demands on teachers and trainers, pupils/students are also affected, albeit at different levels. They have to deal with, among other things, the thickness of the different institutional expectations, which are sometimes not fully harmonised or are already divided at the inter-institutional level; the pressure of certificate-based assessment (the frequency of certificate-based assessment practices specific to certain teaching systems could even suggest that in the educational economy there is more assessment than teaching); the impact of the health crisis on the current situation of young people, which undermines the mission of social workers notably, etc., is the icing on the cake[6]

The Geneva student, like an athlete in competition, is above all a student who must accept a double contract: training and academic endurance. Seen from this angle, his or her work is unquestionably part of the Geneva history of academic requirements, which reminds us of a memorable reply addressed by Theodore de Bèze to the father of one of his boarders[7]: “I fear that nothing good will ever come of your son, for in spite of my prayers, he does not want to work more than fourteen hours a day” (p. 78).

 

Education Nouvelle and the interest of the main questions it raises

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Geneva advocated an educational renewal that placed at the centre of its investments the study of the child, the laws that ‘govern’ his or her development, his or her needs and potentialities… Despite the difficulties in reconciling its assumptions with those of education sciences, this trend, fuelled perhaps more by reformist hopes than scientific challenges, has generated and continues to generate numerous reflections on the centrality of the pupil, on his or her development but also on the pupil as an object of study. Some of these ideas might be more fruitful; others seem to be more risky.

This ‘Copernican revolution’, as Edouard Claparède described the Education Nouvelle programme, essentially oriented by experimental projects, has not only had moments of fervour; it has also been questioned, debated and even accused. No doubt because of the emphasis given to the talents, interests and psychological predispositions of the pupil.

Today, the promises, opportunities and interest of this international movement[8] are being studied, researched and assessed. The aim is to understand its actual and/or potential contributions to the development of educational sciences, teacher training and research, apart from the numerous school reforms to which this movement has given rise.

In 2018, the LIFE laboratory of the University of Geneva organised a study day[9] of immense scientific interest, which deserves particular attention for the quality of the issues and debates raised, beyond the polemics that they may cause. The main argument of this event, by virtue of the questions it raises, invites a careful analysis of the real and potential contributions of New Education to the evolution of ordinary teaching practices. As the text of the argument suggests, this analysis cannot avoid the [three] major criticisms made of it (the weakening of school authority, the concealment of knowledge and the naturalisation of pupils’ difficulties and inequalities):

 One hundred years later, what remains of this hope? Is it outdated, even old-fashioned? On the contrary, is it necessary, because it was never realised? Or neither, because practices never evolve as ideals would like, but never without reference to them either? / […] what assessment can be made of the promises kept or aborted? Slogans such as “the pupil at the centre”, “the tailor-made school” or “teaching is learned” have been (and still are) alternately accused of undermining the authority of the school and of teachers, of hiding knowledge or erudition under activities, of naturalising difficulties and inequalities. 

Education Nouvelle raises questions, doubts, debates and critical analysis concerning teaching practices. It, however, also allows for extremely useful reflections in terms of research and of the construction of training systems based on scientific and experimental contributions relating to the study of the pupil (more precisely, to the study of what Christian Orange calls the ‘intellectual activity of the pupil’[10]).

The flagship programme envisaged by Edouard Claparède in his landmark work ‘Child Psychology and Experimental Pedagogy’ (1905) is in many respects echoed in research focused on the analysis of the cognitive activity of the pupil and the organisation of his or her actions within the framework of the specific school tasks. In this context, probing the student’s interests in order to better respond to his or her needs, means above all converting these interests into levers for the diagnosis and treatment of learning/educational/developmental needs, as anchored in the formalised expectations of the educational system. This aspect is of great importance in the training of teachers, centred on the study of the pupil, insofar as it makes it possible to distinguish between needs belonging to the private/intimate sphere and objectively identifiable educational needs, in order to better articulate them, when their articulation is possible and, above all, necessary.

In this respect, the invitation of the ECER 2021 scientific committee to focus on the issue of the tensions between, on the one hand, “the stated aims of formal education” (insofar as they are the result of a “collective, mandated endeavour”) and, on the other hand, “the realities or social contexts within which the education process takes place”, seems to us to be of great interest and of great international relevance, as it can be witnessed by the reality in Geneva.

Indeed, educating, teaching, training, in a multicultural context such as that of the City of Calvin, are missions that are difficult to think about without a certain mastery of the social conditions that allow the construction of living together as the main entry point in the formation and development of the citizen, but also in the resolution of social problems.

In summary, this is what allows us to say that a theme such as that of ECER 2021 could not be better received than in Geneva, the home of reconciliation, probably “the most conducive to happiness”, to quote Jorge Luis Borges’ memorable phrase.

 

ECER 2021 - Online Conference

ECER 2021 (online) will take place over four and a half days, starting Monday morning 6th September and ending Friday 10 September at lunchtime. In addition to interactive paper sessions, research workshops, panel discussions, ignite talk sessions, poster sessions, and symposia, there will be a poster exhibition a publisher exhibition, both exhibitions offering opportunities to chat and/or get together for a one to one video meeting.

We plan to have the keynote videos available prior to ECER and the ECER week will culminate with the Keynote Panel on Friday. There will be plenty of opportunities to socialise and network throughout the conference and there will be special activities organised by networks as well as Geneva-themed events hosted by the local organising committee in Geneva.

ECER Programme

Find out about the ECER theme, the general timetable as well as keynote speakers, and other ECER events here.

Emerging Researchers' Conference

The Emerging Researchers' Conference (ERC) precedes ECER and is organised by EERA's Emerging Researchers' Group.

Keynote Speakers 

At ECER 2021 six keynotes will be held by: Jo-Anne Dillabough (University of Cambridge), Phillipp Gonon and Lorenzo Bonoli (University of Zurich and Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training SFIVET), Kirsti Klette (University of Oslo), Laura Lundy (Queen’s University, Belfast), Anne Rohstock (University of Tübingen), Ninni Wahlström (Linnaeus University).

Registration and Fees 

Information on how to register, the fee structure, terms of registration etc. Registration deadline for presenters is 1 July 2020.

Dr Stefan Bodea

Dr Stefan Bodea

Lecturer in art didactics at the University of Geneva

Stefan Ioan Bodea is a lecturer in art didactics at the University of Geneva. In April 2015, he defended a thesis in educational sciences on the didactic dimension of the teaching action in the discipline of plastic and visual arts (“Teaching praxeologies and professional postures in the teaching of plastic and visual arts. A didactic analysis of experienced and novice practices in Geneva secondary schools”). His research focuses on: the didactisation of works and cultural practices of reference in artistic education; the intelligibility of the joint teacher-student action, as well as the specificity of their semiotic organisation; the didactic approach to the learning-creativity relationship in the context of artistic education; the professional training of teachers of artistic disciplines.

https://www.unige.ch/fapse/dam/equipe/

https://www.unige.ch/fapse/dam/?cID=151

References and Further Reading

[1] ‘Geneva 1536. Independence and Reformation’ [Genève 1536. L’indépendance et la Réforme]. Brochure published in 1986 by the Department of Public Education of Geneva, for students in lower secondary school (p. 79).

[2] At the end of the 16th Century, “the best teachers in the world were in Geneva” (Kündig, J. (2009). Ils ont découvert Genève. Éditions du Tricorne, p. 54).

[3] Ardoino, J. (1994). Praxeology and poietics. In Recherche scientifique et praxéologie dans le champ des pratiques éducatives. Actes du congrès de l’AFIRSE : Aix en Provence, Tome 2, 1994, p. 107- 117.
https://afirse-international.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Praxeologie-et-poetique.pdf (p. 8).

[4] Idem, p. 2.

[5] Rochex, J.-Y. (2003). Some reflections on the relationship between school and cultural institutions. In Alberton, S. (coord.) (2003). Ecole et culture. Proceedings of the symposium initiated by the Cellule pédagogique, Département de l’Instruction Publique, Bâtiment d’art contemporain. Geneva, 26 and 27 February 2002, pp. 19-26 (p. 20), with reference to Bourdieu P. & Passeron J.-C. (1964). Les Héritiers. Les étudiants et la culture. Paris: Minuit.

[6] A Geneva administrative councillor recently said: « We are only interested in the health aspect, but the social impact of what we are doing to young people is immeasurable ».

[7] Reply quoted by Gabriel Mutzenberg, in his contribution (cf. chapter “Calvin”, p. 78) to the collective work « Genève 1536. L’indépendance et la Réforme », mentioned above.

[8] The International League for New Education brings together, thanks to its emblematic figures, Swiss, Italian, Belgian, French, English-American and Japanese specialists, among others.

[9]  « The New Education: trapdoor or course for better teaching? A pedagogical utopia put to the test of ordinary work » [L’Éducation nouvelle : trappe ou cap pour mieux enseigner ? Une utopie pédagogique à l’épreuve du travail ordinaire]. LIFE Interviews © AIJJR. University of Geneva, 1 November 2018. https://www.unige.ch/fapse/life/files/6115/3891/8134/entrevue-life-l-education-nouvelle.pdf

[10] cf. Orange, C. (2006). Analyse de pratiques et formation des enseignants. In Recherche et formation [en ligne], 51 | 2006. http://journals.openedition.org/rechercheformation/506.

Refugees and Education – Voices, Discourses and Policies

Refugees and Education – Voices, Discourses and Policies

The issue of refugees and asylum worldwide is a topical debate, where statistics and states play a major role with regard to research. Research focuses almost exclusively on the now, on themes like borders, trafficking, and human rights. In Europe in particular, the years 2015 and 2016 marked a turning point, because the numbers of refugees who arrived and applied for asylum reached the highest level in the Post-World-War II era. The so-called ‘refugee crisis’ underlines the necessity to integrate the incomers into established communities. This is, however, not a new phenomenon. 

In political discourses and other actual debates around the entry, asylum process, and integration of refugees, historical comparisons to argue against refuge or to raise empathy are commonly used.

Why historical research of refugees matters for present policy decisions

From an educationalist view, there is an urgent need to historicize the topic of forced migration to improve our understanding of the present age of movement. Europe has a long history of refugees and providing asylum and nation-states were the main actors in making refugees in the 20th century. The reason why we inquire about the relation between present and past in discourses about refugees and providing asylum is that our frames of reference are coined by this history. We would like to give voice to the experiences of violence. Throughout history nations received refugees, schools have a long history in receiving traumatised children and still are often left helpless with regard to personnel, materials, etc. And each time the public discourse only seems to focus on the now, the new, the particular.  

Reconnecting EERA Online Conference – Refugees and Education throughout Time in Europe

During ‘Reconnecting EERA’ NW 07 Social Justice and Intercultural Education and NW 17 Histories of Education hosted a number of sessions in conjunction with the special call “Refugees in/and Education throughout Time in Europe: Re- and Deconstructions of Discourses, Policies and Practices in Educational Contexts”.

Anke Wischmann of Europa-University Flensburg, Germany, and Susanne Spieker of University Koblenz-Landau, Germany initiated the call. The aims of our joint call were: to bring the history of refugee-immigration into focus; to highlight continuities as well as changes; and to understand refuge not only as a single event, but also in a historical context, with particular discourses and practices around education, and as an inter-generational social process, which sees migrants as actors transforming education in states. This call was quite successful, as 25 abstracts were submitted. 

On 26th August 2020, Network 17 organised a series of three informal sessions. In the 2nd session, Susanne Spieker (presenting) and Anke Wischmann introduced the special call and historical research on refugees. We discussed ideas, sources, and approaches for historical research on refugees and forced migration. For example, we looked at the problem of complexity concerning the history of refugee movements. These histories need to be transnational and global. They have to take into account the voices of refugees themselves as well as the practitioners working with them. For historical research, the accessibility to experiences is related to historical sources such as letters.

Time perception is another aspect, which seems to make historical research on forced migration challenging. For instance, if one asks or reads documents from different age groups about the same event, grandparents or parents, small children or adolescents have their own perceptions of the same situation. Each age group will offer a different view.

Family migration is common, as visualised in the above copper engraving from 1698, which depicts Huegenots leaving France. Women and children are a marginalised group with regard to migration in general because former research presumed that mainly men migrate. The opposite is the case. As these families travelled, skills and handicrafts, religious ideas, and educational approaches spread across Europe. These individuals were also actors in the education of their children.

On August 27th, 2020, both networks cooperated in holding a virtual forum. Fourteen individual papers were presented in four parallel sessions. The regional focus of presentations ranged from Denmark to Namibia and from France to Australia. The presentations in the first two break-out sessions covered a range of topics, such as the practical experiences of adolescent refugees and participants of higher education and vocational education in Poland, Bangladesh, and New Zealand, to the empowerment of women from ethnic minority backgrounds in various European countries.

Another break-out session presented and discussed different approaches and experiences with Unaccompanied Minors (UAM) arriving in France and Italy in recent years. Researchers shared their experiences with various educational approaches, and the challenges children and adolescents face.

The second set of parallel sessions introduced school practices and captured the voices of practitioners. In another session, presenters shed light on hidden curricula by analysing exclusionary practices experienced by Ju|’huan students in Namibia, representations of refugees in Polish children’s literature, and a Latvian Gymnasium and its history in the context of the cold-war in Western Germany.

There were many parallels noticed with regard to the seemingly unique experiences that refugees and minorities face in different regional settings. We realised that the complexity of the topic united quite a broad spectrum of methodological approaches, which we found inspiring. However, linking history and present-day research is not evident at first sight.

The responses to the presentations were engaged and positive. In the closing session, researchers valued the opportunity to reconnect, which for most of us was badly needed, due to the restrictions related to the COVID-19-pandemic. We decided to organise a new special call for the Geneva (online) ECER, with a slightly broader scope. We will keep you posted!

In addition to the initiators, the following members assisted with the organisation, planning, and implementation:  Lisa Rosen (Link-convenor of NW 07) and Iveta Kestere (Link-convenor of NW 17). Throughout the two days sessions were chaired by Klaus Dittrich (Hong Kong), Geert Thyssen (Norway), Iveta Kestere (Latvia), and Lisa Rosen (Köln). Fenna tom Dieck (Köln) supported us with Zoom.

 

Dr. Susanne Spieker

Dr. Susanne Spieker

Substitute Professor at the department for educational theory, intercultural and comparative education at Hamburg University

Susanne Spieker is currently a substitute professor at the department for educational theory, intercultural and comparative education at Hamburg University (Germany). She is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau in the research unit on Heterogeneity in education. Her research expertise lies in the history of education. She has published on colonialism and its impact on educational thought. Her research interests include migration and inequality in education (race/ethnicity, gender, class). She was a member of the Editorial Assistant Board (2017 – 2018) of Paedagogica Historica, International Journal of the History of Education, and serves as an external reviewer for History of Education Researcher (UK) and Paedagogica Historica. Since 2016 she is editor of the Journal Jahrbuch für Pädagogik.

Prof. Dr. Anke Wischmann

Prof. Dr. Anke Wischmann

Professor for Education at the Europe-University Flensburg

Anke Wischmann is a professor for education at the Europe-University Flensburg (Germany). Her research focuses on social justice in education, in particular concerning race and ethnicity, analysed from a critical and qualitative perspective. She got her Ph.D. in 2010 at the University of Hamburg and her habilitation in 2017 at Leuphana-University in Lüneburg. In 2018 her article “The absence of race in German discourses on Bildung won the emerging researcher award of the German Educational Research Association (GERA). Since 2016, she has been the editor of the Journal Jahrbuch für Pädagogik.