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International Centre for Historical Research in Education


International Centre for Historical Research in Education (ICHRE) at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is a leading centre for historical research into education



ICHRE runs the History of Education Seminar at the Institute of Historical Research. The seminar attracts speakers from around the world, providing a forum for established historians as well as early-career researchers to present their work.

As currently planned, all seminars in 2022/3 will be held in ‘hybrid’ mode, with both face-to-face and online attenders. With permission of the speakers, they will also be recorded.  For further information please contact Gary McCulloch or Mark Freeman at ioe.ichre@ucl.ac.uk.

Thursday 4 May 2023, 5.30pm

Room 728, IOE building, 20 Bedford Way – in person only

Adi Sapir (University of Haifa)

Student volunteering in historical perspective: origins, trajectories and current manifestations of volunteering in Israeli higher education

In this talk, I will present my research on the historical construction of student volunteering in Israeli higher education. Analysis of archival materials from two elite Israeli universities over four decades reveals three major debates surrounding student volunteering: over the purpose and nature of volunteering activities; over making volunteering a mandatory requirement; and over awarding academic credits for volunteering. I will argue that in contrast to current critical literature on student volunteering, which focuses on tensions embedded in the current neo-liberal climate, the use of a historical lens reveals that significant characteristics of universities’ volunteering policies – such as the logic of individualisation, the organisational structure of monitoring and control, and the demands for benefits for those who volunteer – are shaped by debates that took place decades in the past. More broadly, these historical debates are also debates about the shifting boundaries of the academic mission, student equity, and academic autonomy.


Thursday 1 June 2023, 5.30pm

Room 728, IOE building, 20 Bedford Way
and on Zoom (passcode = ICHRE)

Michèle Cohen (UCL)

Competing pedagogies in long eighteenth-century boys’ and girls’ education

Pedagogy, wrote Robin Alexander, is ‘a window on the culture of which it is a part, and on that culture’s underlying tensions and contradictions’. In the eighteenth century, a principal tension was expressed as the battle between the Ancients and the Moderns. Education was profoundly implicated in this debate, involving a real practice: a classical education vs. a modern education, at a time when ‘modern’ was disparaged. This was not just about curriculum, it was also and fundamentally about pedagogy: what was taught, how and to whom.

In this paper, I focus on the ways in which the teaching of Latin was refashioned in response to the perceived or real threat from pedagogies for modern subjects and how the competition between them resulted in the hegemony of Latin pedagogy. I argue that this hegemony had direct consequences on progressive pedagogies as well as on the persistent representation of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century female education as superficial.