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Title:Object lessons: technologies of education in British literature, 1762-1851
Author(s):Hoiem, Elizabeth Massa
Director of Research:Underwood, Ted
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Underwood, Ted
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Goodlad, Lauren; Markley, Robert; Murison, Justine; Wood, Gillen
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):British education
Romantic and Victorian Literature
industrial revolution
industrial novel
Maria Edgeworth
William Godwin
Mary Hays
children's literature
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
thing theory
education of things
history of experiential education
philosophy of mind
material culture of childhood
Abstract:Contributing to our understanding of self-development in literature, Object Lessons: Technologies of Education in British Literature: 1762-1851, examines Romantic-era and Victorian writers who represent education as an embodied experience, with learning and literacy grounded in what they called “object learning” or “the education of things.” Denouncing rote-learning in favor of an induction method, object lessons promised to coordinate the development of body and mind by using the pupil’s sense exploration of physical surroundings as a catalyst for higher cognitive thought. I begin with late-eighteenth-century author-educators who reconceptualized manual activities as education and child’s play as serious work. When adopted by utilitarian and Whig advocates of education for the poor, however, these pedagogies proved inadequate for addressing the challenges faced by nineteenth-century poor children. Object Lessons helps to explain why humanities scholars portray education, alternately, as an ideological state apparatus used for control, or our best hope for empowering the oppressed. Returning to when these polarized conceptions of education begin, I investigate the consequences of predicating child agency on an object theory derived from Enlightenment science, which creates active child subjects by pacifying the world of things. This active/passive dichotomy construes all learning subjects as either omnipotent or powerless.
Issue Date:2013-08-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Elizabeth Fabry Massa Hoiem
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-08-22
Date Deposited:2013-08

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