English teaching and the educationalisation of social problems in the United States, 1894–1918
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AbstractThis study draws from histories of “educationalisation” and neo-Foucaultian histories of English teaching in an archival analysis that revisits landmark pedagogical texts that coincided with the rapid expansion of the school subject English in between the 1894 Report of the Committee of Ten and 1918 Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education. The archival analysis considers these two reform documents along with the first comprehensive books on English teaching, which were published between the 1890s and 1920s. The study’s analysis adopts a selective focus on their explicit aims and rationales for teaching English, particularly in secondary schools, and the pedagogic logics and practices by which English was imagined as a governmental response to various social problems. This archival work recovers the largely overlooked ways in which the teaching of English was positioned to improve the moral and social condition of the population, to develop youths’ capacities for self-governance, to professionalise teaching through the psychological sciences, and to include “problem” populations within the corrective spaces of the English classroom. It also illustrates how distinctive approaches to teaching English language and literature were understood to attune youths’ “souls” to a range of governmental norms. This study bridges ideas from two historical literatures in order to unearth “educationalisation” problematics and “governmental” practices that traditional histories of English teaching have largely obscured, particularly in the United States.
(Revista) ISSN 0030-9230