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Photo of a Stanford GSE event near Cubberley Building

Lecture: Modern Education and the Art of Fabricating National Minds

Thursday, September 5, 2019
EDUC 214
Daniel Tröhler
Daniel Tröhler

Today’s world faces a radical rise of nationalism. After the popularity of theories addressing the process of globalization, a coming world culture, or the end of history 30 years ago, research has been increasingly confronted with understanding the nation or nationalism. Remarkably enough, most theories of nationalism ignore the crucial role education plays in reproducing nationalism as a form of collective cultural identity. This shortfall is mirrored, on the other side, by a blind spot in educational research neglecting national orientation in the design of all three levels, the educational system, curriculum, and epistemology.

By identifying these deficits in the two research areas, this paper aims at combining theories of nationalism and of education to unmask the strategies and practices that hold modern nations together. Doing so, the paper argues that nation-building in the long nineteenth century depended largely on establishing and expanding thorough education systems designed to fabricate nationally-minded citizens loyal to both the idea of national unity and social stratification within the nations-states’ society. Therefore, it sheds light on how the “nation,” the “state,” and “education” have become inextricably linked in the process of modernity and how it continues to maintain the national machinery affecting the practices of both the school systems and research.

Daniel Tröhler, Professor, University of Vienna
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