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A Cultural History of Education

From eBook chapters on education in Romania and France, to the digitally exclusive A Cultural History of Education reference work, as well as digitised images from the Wellcome Collection, this Featured Content is your gateway into the cultural history of education through the ages.

Image showing a bourgeois school of girls in Paris.
Abraham Bosse, A bourgeois school of girls in Paris

A Cultural History of Education

A Cultural History of Education is the first comprehensive and interdisciplinary overview of the cultural history of education from ancient times to the present day. With six illustrated volumes covering 2800 years of human history, this is the definitive reference work on the subject. Each volume covers: church, religion and morality; knowledge, media and communications; children and childhood; family, community and sociability; learners and learning; teachers and teaching; literacies; life-histories. This chapter from A Cultural History of Education in the Renaissance delves into media, communication, and information exchange in Europe between 1480 and 1650, and outlines the main educational challenges of the period.

Image showing Saint Sava National College (Bucharest)
Saint Sava National College (Wikimedia Commons)

Education in Romania Since WWII

In this chapter from Romania Since The Second World War: A Political, Social and Economic History, Florin Abraham explores the state of the national school system in Romania since the Second World War, and explains how the preoccupation of the communist regime with education brought a certain progress to school infrastructure compared to the interwar period. The general picture shows a massive investment in education at the beginning of communism, however, during the 1980s, the education system was submitted to drastic cutbacks, signalling its marginalization. This was emphasized by the 781975 policy of compulsory governmental placements, which meant that higher education graduates were forced to accept jobs offered by the regime.

Image showing primary health care workers giving a puppet show to a group of people in a village in India
Leprosy Health Education. (© Wellcome Collection)

Health Education in India

Bloomsbury Cultural History offers a range of images collections sourced from global archives and galleries such as the Rijksmuseum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art to complement academic research and encourage a well-rounded understanding of cultural history. This photo from the Wellcome Collection, taken by the Leprosy Mission International Organization, shows primary health care workers in a village in India using performance to educate and raise awareness of leprosy to facilitate control programs.

This image shows the The initial P showing a monk talking to a group of pupils.
The initial P showing a monk talking to a group of pupils. The interpretation of Aristotle’s Categories, France, circa 1300 (© The British Library Board)

Education Beyond the Classroom in Medieval Europe

A vast spectrum of educational provision existed in the medieval West, in terms of training children and adolescents for adult life. The nature of that provision was neither consistent nor uniform across Europe—it might be determined by a large number of considerations, including gender, location, religion, social status, and wealth. This chapter from A Cultural History of Childhood and Family in the Middle Ages takes the discussion of education beyond the formal world of the schools by considering the nature of instruction within royal and noble households, and the value attached to practical, work-based learning at lower social levels.

This image shows the book cover of <i>Vichy France and Everyday Life</i>.
Vichy France and Everyday Life (© Ed. Lindsey Dodd and David Lees)

Adapting Schools in Vichy France

A history of the school system under Vichy is first of all a history of what happened in schools themselves – a history of the difficulties and the banalities of a daily life continuously disrupted by the ordeals of war and occupation. In this chapter from Vichy France and Everyday Life, Matthieu Devigne explores the policies, reforms and charitable initiatives that took place, and explains why, during these ‘dark years’, schools proved to be a hub of moral and material resistance, not only for children, but for all the men and women involved in their day-to-day life and organization.