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Brief Conference Report: History of Education Society, 2006

October 30, 2006

This year’s annual conference of the History of Education Society (HES) was held in Ottawa, Ontario.

Ottawa is beautiful. Unfortunately, on the day I hoped to see more of the city, it rained. All day Saturday it was miserably gloomy.

The weather aside, the conference was great. I attended four panels, and each held forth its own rewards. I learned something about:

– Citizenship and social studies in mid-twentieth-century Detroit;
– History and civic education efforts at the federal level, 2000-present;
– Teacher militancy in the U.S. and Canada in the 1960s and 1970s;
– The demise of the Department of Education’s Educational Policies Commission in the 1960s;
– Henry Giroux’s educational philosophy and its effects in the 1980s;
– Missions in Alaska to improve native education in the late 1800s;
– Catholic education activities on South Dakota’s Rosebud reservation around the turn of the twentieth century;
– Native education in Chicago and Toronto since the 1970s; and
– Various methods and problems in teaching the history of education today.

Since the conference was in Canada, HES’s activities were conducted jointly with the Canada History of Education Association. Many members from both groups came to each other’s panel. I benefited from the Canadian point of view in the comments portions of all the panels I attended. Their questions served as a useful check on the tendency by Americanists to not caveat the U.S. perspective on larger, generalist subjects.

As is generally the case at these events I met a great many people – including a few luminaries in the history of education field. Those in the latter category included Wayne Urban and David Labaree. I met a fantastic group of current and former University of Michigan education people, including Anne-Lise Halverson, Tamara Shreiner, Deborah Michaels, and Jeffrey Mirel, as well as group of Floridians including Donald Boyd, Sevan Terzian, and Deanna Michael. A big personal disappointment was failing to meet Mary Ann Dzuback, who wrote a great biography of Robert M. Hutchins. I used her book a number of times in my dissertation.

I plan on working the HES annual meeting into my yearly conference rotation. Perhaps next time I won’t seek to present a paper so that I can get to know more people and listen to more panel presentations. – TL


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  1. TL,

    I can't remember–did you say that you've axed the AHA from that conference rotation? Are there ANY history conferences left in your rotation? I'm left with the following currently:



  2. CM: The AHA is definitely in my two-year rotation. Right now it's looking like AHA, HES, and the bi-annual Print Culture conference in Madison. I just can't attend AHA this year because of a lack of vacation time. – TL


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