CIRE - Studying a curriculum change in a comparative perspective: Opportunities, questions and challenges

17 November 2015, 12.00 PM - 17 November 2015, 1.15 PM

Ms. Maylis Ferry, Doctoral Candidate, Universite de Bordeaux

Room 2.26, 35 Berkeley Square

Abstract: If we look at how and when the history of slavery and the slave trade was introduced in French and English curricula, we have no choice but to note an unexpected similarity between the two cases. Indeed, this historical chapter was institutionalised by integrating, during the same decade (2000s) and provoking resembling debates, the school programmes of two countries which are usually presented in the literature as antagonistic models in terms of both educational policies and the integration of ethnic minorities into the national narrative.

There is a double invitation to compare the French and English cases here. First, it allows to investigate the hypothesis of a transnational normalisation of this teaching content and to analyse the variations of its legitimation on both sides of the Channel. Second, it offers an opportunity to understand the social mechanisms at play in curricular reform by observing them in two different educational contexts.

However, this comparison raises a number of challenges among which are the replicability of the research design, the scale of the comparison and my own unbalanced familiarity with the two field cases. This presentation will examine and discuss the theoretical and empirical opportunities and issues that are faced while studying a curricular introduction in France and England.

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