Tag Archives: Pedagogy

Call for Papers

History Curriculum, Geschichtsdidaktik, and the Problem of the Nation

I am currently co-guest editing with Professor Monika Vinterek (Darlana University, Sweden) a special issue of the journal ‘Education Sciences’. International dialogue has begun to take shape between the European bildung-influenced tradition of Didaktiks and the Anglo-American Curriculum Studies tradition. As it stands, the dialogue has concentrated on a comparative analysis of the traditions at the level of general curriculum theory or Allgemeine Didaktik (see for example, Gundem & Hopmann, 2002), and has rarely, if ever, drilled down into an area of subject-specific pedagogy or fachdidaktiks. This special issue seeks to address this directly, by encouraging a dialogue between various regional and national traditions of history education or Geschichtsdidaktik.

Contributors are invited to submit papers that explore how history education or Geschichtsdidaktik should respond, is responding, or has responded, to the problem of narrative diversity and the nation-building project. Studies that explore insights from a specific tradition of history education, and those that engage in comparative work across traditions are both welcome. While dialogue between historically and culturally distinctive traditions may be difficult, we believe it holds promise for the possibility of new insights, and presents opportunities for exciting transformations. Further details can be found by clicking on the “call for papers” image above.

Further details can be found by clicking on the “call for papers” image above. Deadline for manuscript submissions is: 1 September 2012.

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Discipline and the dojo

Parkes, R. J. (2009). Discipline and the dojo. Paper presented in the ‘Complicating understandings of discipline’ symposium at the annual conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE), Canberra (ACT),
November 29 – December 3.

“You must be very disciplined?” is a question I’ve been asked many times, almost the instant after I’ve revealed my twenty years of involvement in the martial arts. It rehearses a popular perception of the martial arts, and is frequently the motivation of many a parent who has brought their child to a dojo in order to “become more disciplined”. This paper is concerned with the productive nature of discipline. That is, with what discipline produces. I use the martial arts as a case study to explore theoretically and empirically Foucault’s (1977; 1982/1994) claim regarding the productive nature of power and discipline, particularly because it so frequently is depicted as a site of ‘serious’ discipline. Informed by the later Foucault, I explore both the constraining and enabling effects of discipline as it manifests in and through the martial arts; and consequently I investigate the way discipline is central to the act of becoming in the dojo. This is not performed in some celebration of martial arts. Rather, I am interested in using the martial arts as a case study to understand the complex ways in which discipline, desire, and power circulate and interact to produce particular kinds of subjects. That is to say, I will argue that there is not one set of ‘disciplinary’ practices (Foucault, 1977) that is constraining, and another set that is enabling. Instead, I hope to make the case that all disciplinary constraints are precisely enabling forces that operate on and through the individual martial artist as a means of self-formation; and that participation in a disciplinary regime or process results in the ‘production’ of a particular kind of person, individual, or martial artist.

The above conference paper was an abridged version of the argument published in the edited collection below:

Parkes, R. J. (2010). Discipline and the dojo. In Z. Millei, T. G. Griffiths, and R. J. Parkes (Eds.), Re-theorizing discipline in education: Problems, politics and possibilities (pp. 76-90). New York: Peter Lang.

Click on the book cover image to locate a copy of the chapter.

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Teaching History and the Social Sciences in a Post-Literate Visual Media Age

For the student of today, school is only one of the places from which they will develop their understanding and relationship to the past. In our post-literate age, when most of us can read, but many of us don’t want to, we would prefer to watch a film or surf the net rather than read a book (Rosenstone, 2001). Through the medium of the nightly news; in the press; as television docudramas, Hollywood films, or cable TV documentaries; in novels; through museum exhibits; commemoration ceremonies; monuments to the fallen; and increasingly on the internet, through websites, vodcasts and podcasts, we cannot avoid the encounter with history as media text (Davies, 2006). of course, historical representations arising within and across various media have varying degrees of reliability as historical accounts, presenting complex “mixtures of fact, fiction, fabrication and faking” (Ellsworth, 1991); and may be the artefact of rigorous scholarship executed within recognisable traditions of historiography, but are just as likely to be the products of a commercial imagination with little respect for disciplinary rigor or forms. This problem is compounded in contemporary postmodern culture, where the line between fact and fiction in historical work has been questioned (Curthoys & Docker, 2006; Jenkins, 2003; White, 1999) and is often deliberately blurred in reality television, mocumentaries, historical novels, and other popular media forms; where, even in television news, as Jean Baudrillard (1995) has argued, reality and representation implode, leaving us with only an endless array of simulations which often supplant any reality they were once intended to depict. It is within this cultural context, that the positive public reception of The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown (2003), a fictional novel which claims to be drawing on a ‘hidden history’ of Christianity, but which clearly gets the history confused (Ehrman, 2004), comes to represent the very problem being articulated. These cultural developments present a challenge, not only to public understandings of history and its discipline, but also to History and Social Science education in our schools (Vinson, 2006). Working at the intersection of History Education and Media Studies, I am increasingly interested in how we teach History in this post-literate, new media age. I am currently writing up the results of a collaborative study, funded by the University of Newcastle, that explored the use of visual media across the teaching of the Humanities and Social Sciences.


Baudrillard, J. (1995). The gulf war did not take place (P. Patton, Trans.). Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Brown, D. (2003). The Da Vinci Code. Berkley: Doubleday.

Curthoys, A., & Docker, J. (2006). Is history fiction? Sydney: University of New South Wales Press.

Davies, M. L. (2006). Historics: Why history dominates contemporary society. Abingdon: Routledge.

Ehrman, B. D. (2004). Truth and fiction in the Da Vinci Code: A historian reveals what we really know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ellsworth, E. (1991). I pledge allegiance: The politics of reading and using educational films. Curriculum Inquiry, 21(1), 41-64.

Jenkins, K. (2003). Refiguring history: New thoughts on an old discipline. London: Routledge.

Rosenstone, R. A. (2001). The historical film: Looking at the past in a postliterate age. In M. Landy (Ed.), The historical film: History and memory in media (pp. 50-64). New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.

Vinson, K. D. (2006). Social studies in an age of image: Surveillance-spectacle and the imperatives of “seeing” citizenship education. In A. Segall, E. E. Heilman & C. H. Cherryholmes (Eds.), Social studies – the next generation: Re-searching in the postmodern (pp. 27-46). New York: Peter Lang.

White, H. (1999). Figural realism: Studies in the mimesis effect. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press.

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On the Mistreatment of Management

Gore, J. M., & Parkes, R. J. (2008). On the Mistreatment of Management. In A. Phelan & J. Sumsion (Eds.), Critical Readings in Teacher Education: Provoking Absences (pp. 45-60). Rotterdam, Sense Publishers.

This chapter addresses the odd place that classroom management occupies in the structure and conduct of teacher education programs and in discourse on teaching and teacher education. As evident within the curricula of teacher education programs, and recently produced policy documents describing teacher standards, the idea of “management” has come to occupy a privileged place in discourse on teaching. It is our argument that “management” is mistreated in discourses of teaching and teacher education, and that this mistreatment derives in part from a misunderstanding of pedagogy. However, our argument extends beyond this simple critique, a position that has advocates throughout the field already. Rather, we seek to make what we consider a more significant point. Adopting a theoretical lens provided by the work of Michel Foucault to examine the absence of critical engagement with “management” discourse in the context of teacher education, we argue that this discourse operates as a “regime of truth” that constructs a particular conception of “the good teacher” as “classroom manager” and, through the operation of this regime on and through the individual student teacher, produces a situation in which teachers are likely to desire classroom order over the construction of an intellectually engaging learning environment. In reading management discourse as a regime of truth, we seek to challenge what has become part of the “common-sense” of teaching and teacher education, not to reject it outright, but to explore its productive effects in the constitution of particular kinds of teachers, with very specific desires, practices, and goals.

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Conceptions of social science knowledge: Assessing the impact on pedagogical reform

Griffiths, T. G., Parkes, R. J., Downey, J., Gore, J. M., Ladwig, J. G., & Amosa, W. A. (2008). Conceptions of social science knowledge: Assessing the impact on pedagogical reform. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE), Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, 30 November – 4 December.

This analysis is set in the context of Immanuel Wallerstein’s work on the structures of knowledge, in particular the place of the social sciences past and present, and the potential contribution of a more integrated approach (historical social science) to the broader political project of building a more democratic, equal and just world-system. Our analysis finds that knowledge in the social science subjects tended to be treated in only a mildly problematic way, with moderate outcomes in terms of its connection to students’ lives and cultural backgrounds, and its authentic application, despite substantial attention to such characteristics of curriculum content, evident in the evolution of the History curriculum. Further we find that outcomes on these measures are substantially stronger in primary rather than secondary classrooms. We conclude by arguing that social science teachers’ meaningful engagement with the Quality Teaching framework, as part of a significant, system-wide pedagogical reform initiative, is contingent on their re-thinking the nature of their subject knowledge and its treatment in their teaching. Further, we argue that seen through the lens of Wallerstein’s world-systems theorising, this strengthens the case for the type of pedagogical work reported here to support curricular reforms in the social sciences and contribute to students’ complex understandings of their world.

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