Critical Research of Education: Long term historical trajectories and Europe

The Annual Gustaf Vasa Seminar, May 22–24, 2017, Department of History and Ethnology, University of Jyvaskyla

Education is a topic that touches all of us, personally and professionally. It is a complex and pressing topic today, as it has been in the past as well. However, the long term trajectories in the history of education and development of educational policies, systems and ideologies has seldom been paid attention to. Instead, case driven examples or national histories, often put together by those without the frameset essential for proper historical analysis have been emphasized. This has led to either falsely universal theoretization, universalism and or fragmentation in the field of educational studies. The essential core of why some systems prevail over others somewhere, but not everywhere has not been answered. Moreover, the ideas of attempting to practice educational transfers intentionally, and often commercially have mostly failed due to the failure to understand the essential contexts and historical trajectories they have been dependent of. Historical analysis, including for instance comparisons, such as has been called for example by Jeremy Rappleye and Robert Cowen might offer insight to these dilemmas and also help to understand the situation where we are now. Historical analysis is required to understand the systems and policies which are under the constant pressure of being renewed and renegotiated, especially as the basis of these demands tend to be only skin deep analysis.
Education is an inherently multidisciplinary field of research: it involves politics, network analysis, history, pedagogy, social sciences, economics, and their respective sub- and adjacent fields. It is also a global field of research: questions about education are pondered the world over.
Too often, however, the approach of educational research has been narrowed down to one discipline only, and the focus has been either local, national, or at best, slightly comparative. A wider perspective might provide more insight on the complex topic of education. But what forms could this wider perspective on education take? How to adopt and implement it in practice? How to incorporate for instance critical inquiry and comparativeness into educational research? And what are the challenges, advantages, and downsides in doing so?
We invite scholars from all fields of scholarship to discuss with us about education, and the past, present, and future of educational research.

The focus of the seminar is on European education. We especially encourage papers on the following themes:
1) Educational institutions and institutionalism
2) Educational policies and politics
3) International transfers in ideas, policies and institutions
4) Finances and investments in education.
5) Methods and theories for critical and comparative research.

The deadline for sending the max 400-word abstracts is 8 February, 2017. Authors of the papers chosen for the conference will be notified during February 2017.
The three-day conference will be held in May 22-24, 2017 at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

Registration for the conference starts in February 2016.
Conference fees: TBA.

University of Jyväskylä, Department of History and Ethnology

Working group:
Heli Valtonen
Henna-Riikka Pennanen
Matti Roitto

Contact information:
Visiting address: University of Jyvaskyla, Department of History and Ethnology, Seminaarinkatu 15, H-Building (Historica)

Postal address: University of Jyvaskyla, Department of History and Ethnology, PO Box 35, FI-40014 University of Jyvaskyla