ESPHE 8895: Foundations of Historical Inquiry in Education
Couse Number: 34010 | Thursdays 4:30PM ‐ 6:48PM | Prerequisites: None
While we can all be fairy sure there was a “past,” how can we understand the myriad ways in which it can inform us about our present? Is history, indeed, doomed to repeat it? If one fails to learn from it, will they really echo it? Is true knowledge of history possible? Is there such a thing as “good” and “bad” history? And, finally, what constitutes evidence of history and how are those pieces of evidence analyzed and compiled in order to tell us what, if anything,“was?”
This course is designed to answer these questions and so much more, especially as they relate to educational history! Not only will a student who completes this course have a better understanding of what the academic study of history entails, but will also have a theoretical foundation to better understand how to interpret histories for themselves. Also, students will receive instruction on how to examine sources of various kinds for themselves (including textual/documentation and object/physical) and produce their own historical works from start to finish! Finally, the instructor will help students use historical analysis to better understand, and perhaps change, modern education.
This graduate‐level seminar is designed to provide students with an introduction in the use of methods to study education from the perspective of a scholarly historian. The course will provide students with a solid grounding in what is commonly called the “historical method” so that they can analyze primary sources created by educators and those interested in education so that they can apply lessons from the past into their understandings of the modern education, and, if they so choose, better understand the production of scholarly documentation that would be seen as well‐considered and
authoritative by scholastic historians.
Students will receive instruction on the development of history as a field and how to parse through its historiographical vastness. Additionally, students will study the analytical frameworks, research methods, writing techniques, and citation techniques employed by historians. Finally, students will be taught how to categorize data and how to write in an organized but efficient and concise manner that will help speed production of their final product while maximizing the readability of their manuscripts. Students will write short, concise, and focused papers (3‐5 pages) that will strengthen lessons learned in class and will participate in in‐ and out‐of‐class projects designed to reinforce course content.
Dr. Bruce Arnold, Assistant Professor
Interests: Post-1860s U.S. cultural history and transnational ethnohistory
with interests in Asian American, African American, technological, consumer,
family, and educational histories, as well as the history of technology and computing.