Waging War on Education: American Indian Versions
Excerpt: "In general the essay raises a debatable proposition: education history’s intrinsic and most inviting contributions begin as research methods. Hypothetically, any topic can be approached, and reach important destinations, if the approach itself is driven by accumulating evidence of when, where, and by what means individuals and groups have learned, for good or ill. Absent any presumed definition of education, history of education projects as procedurals take the form of biography, cross-generational probes of intersections among human behaviors, intentional or not, and their contexts, both of which—the people and their settings—require identities and investigations. The essay offers America Indian histories as analytical levers. Collectively, they provide prismatic case studies of what happens methodologically when education historians attempt to cleanse their methods of ethnocentrism and similar predispositions. Such efforts inevitably fail, given durable habits of mind, but the research process itself benefits. It can bloom profusely. In short, education history is required to meet a basic standard: It must be educative along the path toward discovery of a particular relevant topic."