It is fitting to open our issue with a reflective essay from our colleague, Craig Kridel, as he reflects on the role of biography in his career. Kridel retired recently from his role as faculty and curator of the museum of education at the University of South Carolina. He continues to pursue historical work with attention to the methodological complexity of the craft of life writing, most recently through the publication, Becoming an African American Progressive Educator: Narratives from 1940s Black Progressive High Schools (2018), and Progressive Education in Black High Schools of the 1940s (2015). Kridel's remarks will resonate with many life studies scholars, "perhaps I have most enjoyed the thrill of discovery and the archival chase and have delighted in witnessing others who are engaged in the high adventure of this work."
Our next essay engaging in such adventures is written by educational historian Jackie M. Blount, who is working on a biography of Ella Flagg Young (1845-1918), the formidable Chicago educator who, among her accomplishments, became the first female superintendent of a major school system in the United States. In her reflective piece, Blount describes grappling with the "manifold difficulty" of scraping and digging for information to fill in the "archival chasm" that surrounds Young's private life, one that speaks from its very absences. Through Blount's compelling--and personal--historiographical journey, she has also uncovered key linkages between Young's accomplishments and major movements in educational history.
The adventures continue with Kate Rousmaneire's reflective essay, "The Image of a Political Life," that springs from a photograph taken of a man 40 years ago that marked a key moment in her life history. It was a moment of political awakening, one that "immediately radicalized her." Rousmaniere has written a variety of educational histories and biographies, including The Principal's Office: A Social History of the American School Principal (2013), and Citizen Teacher: The Life and Leadership of Margaret Haley (2005). In this piece, she embraces memories, fragments, and objects as entangled resources that inform the tapestry of human lives--in this case, strands of her own.
In Roy Tamashiro's essay, "Educational Biography: Pilgrimage into What it Means to be Human," he shares an essay developed from his 2019 address as President of the International Society of Educational Biography. Tamashiro reflects on his experiences undertaking peace pilgrimages to sites of human atrocity around the world. He considers these journeys as essential to bearing witness and developing "witness-consciousness" in exploring what it means to be human. He also considers life narratives as one form of pilgrimage--as a journey--that invites both external and interior movement in such explorations.
In "ALL Cultures Matter," Charles Lamont Hight and Chara Haeussler Bohan of Georgia State University trace Rachel Davis DuBois' (1892-1993) work to establish intercultural education in the United States during the 1920s-1940s. DuBois' work to promote "equality," "understanding," and "mutual respect" through dialogue across ethnic and racial lines was the foundation for what developed into "multicultural education" later in the century. The authors extend existing knowledge of DuBois' professional life by detailing her early contributions, advocacy and service work, and innovative pedagogical practices in the Woodbury Project as a teacher in New Jersey and the Intercultural Education Movement.
We turn to visual narrative biography in Brittany Harker Martin and Anita Sinner's "duoethnographic experiment," "Techno-Bio-Poetica: Reweaving the Posted Poetics of Academic Travel." The piece highlights both the absences and presences shaping curated visual "selfie" culture, and their implications, through visuals of the authors' academic travel. This trajectory of visual work points to broader turns in life writing that our journal is embracing as it expands beyond conventional texts to explore the performance of lives as they are articulated and created within the affordances of contemporary digital platforms in networked cultures. (2)
The final piece in this issue is Nancy Bell's rich book review focusing on Kay Whitehead's history of the educator and theorist, Lillian de Lissa (1885-1967). Whitehead's book explores de Lissa's professional biography as a progressive educator while also shedding light on her transnational networks and institutional and educational reform.
We hope you enjoy this issue of Vitae Scholasticae. We welcome your submissions and readership as you pursue your own biographical adventures.
(1) Stephen Oates, (Ed.), Biography as High Adventure: Life-Writers Speak on Their Art (Boston, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1986).
(2) As one example of such autobiographical trajectories, see Emma Maguire, Girls, Autobiography and Media: Gender and Self-Mediation in Digital Economies (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).
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|Date:||Mar 22, 2019|
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