Home » Education

Education

Calendar Customer Code: 
EDUCATION_DEPARTMENT

Little House in the Empire: Imperialism on the Literary and Educational Frontier

Monday, November 9, 2015 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
Joe Rosenfield '25 Center Room 101

 

Daniel Perlstein, Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Studies in Education
Graduate School of Education
University of California, Berkeley

Laura Ingalls Wilder claimed to have written her beloved Little House novels in part to teach American children about the New Deal’s totalitarian evils.   John Dewey embodied America’s left-liberal tradition.  And yet, the two were strange pedagogical and ideological bedfellows.  Like Dewey, Wilder consistently contrasts Laura’s activity and learning at home with the routinized oppressive lessons at school.  And like Wilder, Dewey celebrated pioneer self-direction and the authenticity of pioneer life.  Less sentimental than Dewey, Wilder makes explicit the contrast between the activity of settlers and the presumed emptiness of Native lands, to be filled through the activity of settlers.  Comparing Dewey and Wilder illuminates the role of the frontier in progressive educational thought.  In short, just as the Little House books mirrored the mainstream of American progressive educational thought, progressive educational thought articulated the imperialist ideology that shaped the Little House books.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies and the Departments of Education and History. This event is free and open to the public.