The Role of Pedagogy and School Textbooks in Shaping the Idea of Superiority in French Colonial Culture
The Role of Pedagogy and School Textbooks in Shaping the Idea of Superiority in French Colonial Culture
Publication type
Velikhan Mirzekhanov 
Institute of World History RAS
Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow

The author of this article takes as his starting point the idea that the colonial expansion and the experience of learning about the world in the 19th — early 20th centuries were fully reflected in the process of self-identification of European societies and the substantiation of the idea of their civilization, culture, and superiority. The colonial factor and colonial culture could give vitality to national identity, allowing the reformatting of the national space. In France, colonial expansion began to be perceived by various social strata as the best way to strengthen the country, and colonial culture was gradually becoming a familiar element of public consciousness. The French, like other European nations, took the colonial idea from school. Using the example of educational narratives (school textbooks and anthologies), the author shows the penetration of elements of colonial culture into the public consciousness. The French school at the turn of the 19th — 20th centuries became a «testing ground for progress», where new social, political, and economic technologies were tested. The school became one of the places where the ideas of superiority were formed. French pedagogy was inextricably linked with colonial culture. All textbooks, both for secular and church schools, placed the civilizing work of France at the forefront. From this point of view, the plan for the formation of souls, its tasks, current and future, were presented. The author concludes that the formation of the French colonial empire led to the strengthening of the national at the expense of the colonial and to their active rapprochement. The colonial idea and colonial culture contributed to the awareness of the French of their belonging to a single nation, the formation of their national identity, and pedagogical practices played a special role in this process.

France, ideas of superiority, colonial culture, history, geography, school textbooks, pedagogy
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