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Our Civilizing MissionThe Lessons of Colonial Education$
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Nicholas Harrison

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941763

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941763.001.0001

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Education’s Impact

(p.285) Conclusion
Our Civilizing Mission

Nicholas Harrison

Liverpool University Press

The Conclusion explores the sense in which the experiences of colonial students, though highly unusual in some ways, may be exemplary or instructive in relation to certain questions in and around education. Themes include: the relevance/irrelevance of notions of a national origin, as applied to a text or an idea (notably laïcité/secularism); the impact of teaching in the humanities, including its tendency to build or reinforce some sort of common culture (though not necessarily a ‘national’ culture); what that tendency implies for the design of teaching programmes; issues of ‘adaptation’, when the classroom is diverse; the curatorial function of the critic-teacher; teaching as a form of impact; education and social mobility; and what in teaching and in students may allow or encourage students to 'think for themselves', when teaching is normative, and when students are subject to the authority of the teacher. The chapter ends by returning to Edward Said and considering possible parallels, or links, between a certain idea of education and a certain idea of the literary as notional ‘spaces’ that are political in some senses but where a kind of suspension of politics may also have value. [190]

Keywords:   colonial education, literary education, role of the academic, national culture, laïcité/secularism, adaptation, teaching programme design, impact, Edward Said

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