Educational research-history of education a curious case?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Colleges, School and Institutes


The article begins with an exploration of the current state of history of education by drawing on published reviews of history of education, thematic analysis of journal content, and mapping of postgraduate study. It then highlights 'moments of insecurity'. These are characterised by a particular discourse that frames the future of the discipline in particular ways to suggest that history of education is dependent on concerted strategic decisions in response to 'moments of challenge' resulting from institutional change, and particularly in response to the disappearance of history of education from teacher education. Rather than seeing 'moments of insecurity' as stages of disintegration for disciplines the article argues that they can constitute 'moments of opportunity' when disciplines reach out to spaces shared with other disciplines to develop interdisciplinary ways of working. The article then discusses 'moments of curiosity' that enrich the methodological and substantive development of the history of education. In history of education, 'moments of curiosity' have occurred on the basis of intellectual exchange in a dialogic associational way within networks rather than being a direct outcome of strategic responses to 'moments of insecurity'. They are resulting in organic growth that is developing the landscape of history of education in several ways. The article ends by pointing to the importance of an historical dimension for bringing contextual understanding to enrich contemporary research and by stressing the need within the discipline for researchers (individually or collectively) to develop an eye for 'intelligence' and strategic vision to link their interests with current challenges in order to highlight lacunae in current practice in and for education.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-616
Number of pages16
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009