Paul Theobald chronicles the history of the one-room country schools that were spread throughout the rural Midwest during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Focusing on the region’ s educational history in light of the religious, economic, and political atmosphere, Theobald explores the tight connection between educational preferences and religious views, between the economics of the countryside and the educational experiences of children, and between the politics of local power and the educational prospects of the powerless.
Basing his study on extensive archival research, including findings from eight midwestern states, Theobald neither condemns nor lauds the one-room school experience. Providing an objective evaluation, he examines rural school records, correspondence of early school officers, contemporary texts, and diaries and letters of rural students and teachers.
As he weaves together a contextualized account of the circumstances surrounding and within the one-room country schools of the Midwest, Theobald stresses that religion was of primary importance in nineteenth-century American life. Yet he also looks carefully at the shifting economic environment at work in the countryside, particularly in regard to the development of widespread farm tenancy and the consolidation of agricultural and related industries. He challenges readers to analyze how a national move from an agrarian to an industrial view caused conflict and confusion, thereby introducing irrevocable change into rural American life.
Theobald’ s study illuminates the history of education on the plains and sheds light on the social foundations of the period.
Cotton Patch Schoolhouse
Susie Powers Tompkins University of Alabama Press, 1992 Library of Congress LA2317.T66A3 1992 | Dewey Decimal 370.193460976139
Cotton-Patch Schoolhouse is a memoir of the author’s year as a young and inexperienced teacher in rural Marengo County, several miles from Linden, Alabama, in 1926. Seeking to earn money to continue college after her freshman year at AlabamaCollege in Montevallo, the author welcomed the opportunity to teach eight children at five different grade levels in a one-room schoolhouse in the middle of a cotton field. Youthful enthusiasm, native wit, and a sense of adventure helped her transform the simple schoolhouse into a place of learning and excitement.
When Indian communities of Chiapas, Mexico, rose in armed rebellion in 1994, they spoke boldly of values, rights, identities, and expectations. Their language struck a chord for most Mexicans, for it was the cultural legacy of the Revolution of 1910. Of all the accomplishments of the Mexican Revolution, its cultural achievements were among its most important. The Revolution's cultural politics accounts in part for the relative political stability Mexico enjoyed from 1940 through 1993 and underlies much of the discourse accompanying the tumultuous transitions in that country today. To show the significance of this facet of the Revolution, Mary Kay Vaughan here analyzes the educational effort of the state during the 1930s, locating it within the broader sweep of Mexican history to illustrate how the government sought to nationalize and modernize rural society. Vaughan focuses on activities in rural schools, where central state policy makers, teachers, and people of the countryside came together to forge a national culture. She examines the cultural politics of schooling in four rural societies in the states of Sonora and Puebla that are representative of the peasant societies in revolutionary Mexico, and she shows how the state's program of socialist education became an arena for intense negotiations over power, culture, knowledge, rights, and gender practices. The real cultural revolution, Vaughan observes, lay not in the state's efforts at socialist education but in the dialogue between state and society that took place around this program. In the 1930s, rural communities carved out a space to preserve their local identities while the state succeeded in nurturing a multi-ethnic nationalism based on its promise of social justice and development. Vaughan brings to her analysis a comparative understanding of peasant politics and educational history, extensive interviews, and a detailed examination of national, regional, and local archives to create an evocative and informative study of Mexican politics and society during modern Mexico's formative years. Cultural Politics in Revolution clearly shows that only by expanding the social arena in which culture was constructed and contested can we understand the Mexican Revolution's real achievements.
Up until now, the majority of literature about service learning has focused on urban areas, while comparatively little attention has been paid to activities in rural communities. The Landscape of Rural Service Learning, and What It Teaches Us All is designed to provide a comprehensive look at rural service learning. The practices that have developed in rural areas, partly because of the lack of nonprofits and other services found in urban settings, produce lessons and models that can help us all rethink the dominant forms of service learning defined by urban contexts. Where there are few formal organizations, people end up working more directly with one another; where there is a need for services in locations where they are unavailable, service learning becomes more than just an academic exercise or assignment. This volume includes theoretical frameworks that are informed by the rural, concrete stories that show how rural service learning has developed and is now practiced, practical strategies that apply across service learning contexts, and points to ponder as we all consider our next steps along the path of meaningful service learning.
Discussions of China’s early twentieth-century modernization efforts tend to focus almost exclusively on cities, and the changes, both cultural and industrial, seen there. As a result, the communist peasant revolution appears as a decisive historical break. Kate Merkel-Hess corrects that misconception by demonstrating how crucial the countryside was for reformers in China long before the success of the communist revolution.
In The Rural Modern, Merkel-Hess shows that Chinese reformers and intellectuals created an idea of modernity that was not simply about what was foreign and new, as in Shanghai and other cities, but instead captured the Chinese people’s desire for social and political change rooted in rural traditions and institutions. She traces efforts to remake village education, economics, and politics, analyzing how these efforts contributed to a new, inclusive vision of rural Chinese life. Merkel-Hess argues that as China sought to redefine itself, such rural reform efforts played a major role, and tensions that emerged between rural and urban ways deeply informed social relations, government policies, and subsequent efforts to create a modern nation during the communist period.