Nordic Journal of Educational History (Dec 2022)

The De-Subalternization of the Knowledge of Education? Lecturing Pedagogic Knowledge in Colonial India (approx. 1840–1882)

  • Marcelo Caruso

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9, no. 2


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This article examines the import of Western pedagogic knowledge, knowledge about the theory and principles of education and teaching, in India from its very first formulations in Bengal in the 1840s until its inclusion at the University of Madras in 1882. The article follows the early trajectory of British pedagogical knowledge in the colonial setting, its associated knowledge practices related to its institutionalization in teachers’ education institutions and the main contents related to it. The research is based on a wide range of documents about colonial educational policy, particularly related to lectures in education and teaching, and a sample of early manuals of education and teaching. This article shows that, although not fully accepted as a relevant form of knowledge in Britain at the time, colonial educators introduced pedagogic knowledge as a manner of transforming inherited educational practices in India. In this process, colonial officials, missionaries, and upper-caste native authors authored manuals and embodied this kind of knowledge, in what can be interpreted as a de-subalternization of the knowledge of education in the colonial setting.