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The Modernization of Colonialism and the Educability of the “Native”: Transpacific Knowledge Networks and Education in the Interwar Years

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Julie McLeod
Affiliation:
University of Melbourne (jemcleod@unimelb.edu.au)
Fiona Paisley
Affiliation:
Griffith University in Australia (f.paisley@griffith.edu.au)

Abstract

This article focuses on a seminar-conference held in Hawaii in 1936 on the “educability” of native peoples. The seminar-conference was convened by New Zealand anthropologist Felix Keesing and Yale education professor Charles Loram and supported by the Carnegie Corporation, among other organizations. Conference delegates-who came from across the Pacific, including the U.S. mainland, Australia, and New Zealand, and from as far as South Africa-joined to discuss the future of colonial education. The residential conference, which lasted several weeks, resulted in published proceedings and the establishment of extensive transpacific networks. One in a series of international congresses on education that took place during the interwar years, the 1936 Hawaii conference offers unique insight into the transnational dialogue among academics, education practitioners, colonial administrators, and, in some cases, Indigenous spokespeople, concerning the modernization of colonialism and new forms of citizenship in the era of progressive education and cultural internationalism.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 History of Education Society 

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References

1 Keesing, Felix Maxwell, Education in Pacific Countries: Interpreting a Seminar-Conference Conducted by the University of Hawaii and Yale University, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1936 (Shanghai: Kelly and Walsh, 1937), 31. The same publication was published in 1938 by Oxford University Press, and this article references both issues. While the published report written by Felix Keesing appears in many libraries around the world, the full proceedings have been much harder to locate. Special thanks to Rozz Evans, Head of Collections, Newsam Library, Institute of Education, University College of London, for her determined and ultimately successful search for these volumes. Keesing, Felix and Loram, Charles, eds., Papers and Addresses Presented at the Seminar-Conference on Education in Pacific Countries, held under the auspices of the University of Hawaii and Yale University, with financial assistance from the Carnegie Corporation, Honolulu, July 3–August 7, 1936, SB12621 (hereafter cited as Seminar-Conference on Education in Pacific Countries).

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2 The total cost to Carnegie for the conference was under U.S.$11,700 (in present day terms slightly over U.S.$200,000). “Financial Statement,” Felix Keesing to Frederick Keppel, November 2, 1936, Felix Keesing Papers, Special Collections, University of Hawaii at Manoa (hereafter cited as Felix Keesing Papers, UHM); and Education in the Pacific and Report, September-December 1936, folder 2 Felix Keesing Papers UHM.

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7 During his early career he had been a member of the Phelps-Stoke Commission (1920–1921 and 1924–1925) that investigated education in British East Africa in relation to its activities in promoting education for African Americans in the southern states of America. See “C. T. Loram Memorial Fund, Public Library,” pamphlet, series 111A, box 206, folder 2, CCNY. “Dr. Loram was director of the Yale University Summer Seminar on Education and Culture Contact in 1934,” newspaper clipping; and “Dr. Loram Dies: Yale Expert on Race Relations,” Herald Tribune, 7 October 1940, Charles T. Loram, 1929–1941, Carnegie Corporation of New York Records, Rare Book and Manuscripts Collection, Columbia University, series 111A, box 206, folder 2 (hereafter cited as CCNY); Arthur Mayhew to Sir John Shuckburgh, Deputy Under-Secretary of State, February 8 1933, Yale University Conference on the Education of Non-Western Peoples, Records of the Colonial Office, Commonwealth and Foreign and Commonwealth Offices, Empire Marketing Board, and related bodies, The National Archives, UK, CO 323/1208/11 (hereafter cited as NAUK); Loram's discussion with Mayhew about the 1934 conference is noted in Heyman, Richard D., “C. T. Loram: A South African Liberal in Race Relations,” International Journal of African Historical Studies 5, no. 1 (January 1972), 47. As well as editing Oversea Education, Mayhew had published on education in previous years. See Whitehead, Clive, “The Concept of British Education Policy in the Colonies 1850–1960,” Journal of Educational Administration and History 39, no. 2 (August 2007), 161–73; and Whitehead, Clive, “Oversea Education and British Colonial Education 1929–63”, History of Education 32, no. 5 (September 2003), 561–75.

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19 McLeod, , “Educating for ‘World-Mindedness,’” 339–59.

20 Conference brochure, “Education for International Understanding,” NEF conference held in Australia, 1946, Archives of the World Education Fellowship (WEF), UCL Institute of Education (IOE), Newsam Library and Archives, University of London, WEF/A/111/201; see also, Goodman, Joyce, “Education, Internationalism and Empire at the 1928 and 1930 Pan-Pacific Women's Conference,” Journal of Educational Administration and History 46, no. 2 (2014), 145–59.

21 See also Howlett, , Progressive Education, 144–45.

22 Malherbe, Ernst Gideon, with the assistance of Carson, John Justin Godfrey, Jones, John David Rheinalt, eds., Educational Adaptations in a Changing Society: Report of the South African Education Conference held in Capetown and Johannesburg in July 1934, Under the Auspices of the New Education Fellowship (Capetown: Juta, 1937). For further discussion see Kallaway's valuable account of the 1934 conference in comparative perspective: Kallaway, Peter, “Conference Litmus: The Development of a Conference and Policy Culture in the Interwar Period with Special Reference to the New Education Fellowship and British Colonial Education in Southern Africa,” in Transformations in Schooling: Historical and Comparative Perspectives, ed. Tolley, Kim (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 123–149.

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24 Malherbe, et al., Educational Adaptations in a Changing Society, v.

25 Ibid., vii.

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27 Journal of Anthropological Visit to the United States and Europe, 1936–1937, Tindale Papers, South Australian Museum Archives, AA 338/1/46/1 (hereafter cited as Tindale Journal), 97.

28 For discussion of Ataloa's life and work, see Neuman, Lisa Kay, Indian Play: Indigenous Identities at Bacone College (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2013). We thank an anonymous reviewer for alerting us to this book. Ataloa is not only unusual as a woman among Indigenous spokespeople, but is also remarkable for winning a Rockefeller grant to write a book on the American Indian; the grant is mentioned in The Rockefeller Foundation Annual Report 1936 (New York: The Rockefeller Foundation, 1937), 299. For a discussion of Native American women on the world stage, see Hoxie, Frederick E., “Denouncing America's Destiny: Sarah Winnemucca's Assault on U. S. Expansion,” Cultural and Social History 9, no. 4 (December 2012), 549–67; and Paisley, Fiona, Glamour in the Pacific: Cultural Internationalism and Race Politics in the Women's Pan-Pacific (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2009), 85.

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30 Keesing, , Education in Pacific Countries (1938), 10, 84.

31 Similar sets of contradictory effects can be seen in the League of Nations, for example, where colonized peoples petitioned the Permanent Mandates Commission directly but to varying success. See Pedersen, , “Settler Colonialism at the Bar of the League of Nations.”

32 Mayhew, , “Seminar-Conference on Education: Review by Mr. A. I. Mayhew,” 11; folder 1 Felix Keesing Papers UHM.

33 Ibid.

34 Akami, , Internationalizing the Pacific, 200–1.

35 Pedersen, Susan, The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 19.

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36 Keesing, , Education in Pacific Countries (1937), 15.

37 Paisley, , “Applied Anthropology and Inter-War Internationalism.”

38 Mayhew, Arthur, “Obituary: Charles Loram,” series 111A, box 206, folder 2, CCNY.

39 Loram, Charles T. to Keppel, F., 7 October 1934, series 111A, box 206, folder 2, CCNY.

40 The range of participants was also, of course, limited in other respects, and the nomination of them dependent on national and international networks and in their having access to funds, often, but not only, philanthropic, such as via Carnegie, as well as via government support (colonial and education). The nomination of Australian participants is a case in point, as discussed below.

41 Loram, Charles T. to Keppel, F., 4 July 1933, University of Hawaii, series 111A, box 206, folder 2, CCNY.

42 For correspondence between Keesing and the Carnegie Corporation to secure funding for the Honolulu conference and documentation of other sources of support, see “University of Hawaii Conference and Seminar on Education in Pacific Countries,” 1934–1938, CCNY, series 111A, box 168, folder 3; for Keesing's correspondence with the Rockefeller Foundation regarding payments for a fellowship he held 1928–1930, see Rockefeller Archives, NY, RAC RF RG1.1, series 418S, box 2, folder 14, New Zealand Social Sciences, Keesing, Felix, 1930–1934.

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44 White, , “Carnegie Philanthropy in Australia in the Nineteen Thirties-a Reassessment”; and Glotzer, , “A Long Shadow.”

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51 Keesing, , Education in Pacific Countries (1937), 31.

52 “Revised Program Covering Morning Sessions,” in Keesing, and Loram, , Seminar-Conference on Education in Pacific Countries, vol. 1, 27.

53 “Proposed Syllabus of Study,” in Keesing, and Loram, , Seminar-Conference on Education in Pacific Countries, vol. 1, 20.

54 Program in Keesing, and Loram, , Seminar-Conference on Education in Pacific Countries, vol. 1, 20, 27.

55 Ibid., 21.

56 “Revised Program of Study” in Keesing, and Loram, , Seminar-Conference on Education in Pacific Countries, vol. 1, 27.

57 “Proposed Syllabus of Study” in Keesing, and Loram, , Seminar-Conference on Education in Pacific Countries, vol. 1, 23.

58 Ibid., 23.

59 “Revised Program of Study” in Keesing, and Loram, , Seminar-Conference on Education in Pacific Countries, vol. 1, 27.

60 Our larger project is addressing issues raised at the 1936 conference from the perspective of those coming from beyond the Anglo-American world, including those from Latin America and Asia as well as European colonial powers. For the significance of such two-way transnational exchanges about the recontextualization of progressive ideas, see Flores, Ruben, Backroads Pragmatists: Mexico's Melting Pot and Civil Rights in the United States (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014).

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61 “Revised Program of Study” in Keesing, and Loram, , Seminar-Conference on Education in Pacific Countries, vol. 1, 28.

62 Ibid., 29.

63 Keesing, , Education in Pacific Countries (1937), 31.

64 Ibid.

65 Appendix B, “The Day to Day Program,” in Keesing, , Education in Pacific Countries (1937), 200–12.

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66 Dr. Jones's performance on the evening of Tuesday, July 7 was reported favorably in the Honolulu Star Bulletin on the following day, Tindale Journal.

67 Keesing, , “The Day to Day Program,” 200–12.

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73 Keesing, , Education in Pacific Countries (1937), vii.

74 Commissioner of Indian Affairs to Keesing, 12 March 1937, Correspondence, Education in the Pacific Conference and Report, September-December 1936, folder 2, Felix Keesing Papers UHM.

75 Correspondence, Frederick Keppel to Felix Keesing, August 19, 1938, University of Hawaii Conference and Seminar on Education in Pacific Countries, 1934–1938, series 111A, box 168, folder 3, CCNY.

76 Keesing, , Education in Pacific Countries (1937), 31.

77 Exact attribution is difficult to make, as Keesing does not name each speaker he quotes. Keesing, , Education in Pacific Countries (1938), 56 and quote on 57.

78 “Seminar-Conference on Education Review by Mr. A. I. Mayhew,” Felix Keesing Papers UHM; and Correspondence, August 1936, folder 1, typed sheets, no date, no page.

79 Tindale Journal, inserted note between pages 123 and 125.

80 Keesing, , Education in Pacific Countries (1938), 23.

81 Ibid., 41.

82 Ball, D. G., “New Zealand Native Policy in its Educational Aspects,” in Keesing, and Loram, , Seminar-Conference on Education in Pacific Countries, vol. 1, 208.

83 Williams, F. E., “Rival Aims of Education,” in Keesing, and Loram, , Seminar-Conference on Education in Pacific Countries, vol. 2, 289–90.

84 Loram, Charles T., “Forerunners of the Hawaii-Yale Conference Seminar,” in Keesing, and Loram, , Seminar-Conference on Education in Pacific Countries, vol. 1, 42.

85 Ibid., 43.

86 Ibid.

87 Ibid.

88 Ibid., 44.

89 Coloma, Roland Sintos, “Empire: An Analytical Category for Educational Research,” Educational Theory 63, no. 6 (December 2013), 643.

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