Education and Empire: Children, Race and Humanitarianism in the British Settler Colonies, 1833–1880 by Rebecca Swartz
In recent years, a range of new institutional histories of education have emerged that cast
light on South Africa’s broader educational history. Rebecca Swartz’s book emphatically
breaks with this trend by coming at the history of education from the transnational rather than
local end, centred as it is on constructions of black education and childhood during the
nineteenth century. The focus is not specifically on South Africa—the lens is much wider—
but it nonetheless also illuminates it. The book is an ambitious and highly successful attempt
to examine the connections between the imperial and colonial educational worlds: the links
between the local, national, and global. In so doing, it is firmly located in new imperial and
educational historiographies that seek to think beyond the nation, and to examine educational
entanglements at different levels and scales of analysis. As a contribution to comparative
history of education, it is significant.
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