Bending the Future to Their Will
Civic Women, Social Education, and Democracy
Publication date:20 October 1999
Length of book:304 pages
PublisherRowman & Littlefield Publishers
This lively and thought-provoking collective biography uncovers the contributions of past women educators who promoted a distinctive vision of citizenship education. A distinguished group of scholars, including editors Margaret Smith Crocco and O. L. Davis, Jr., consider the lives and perspectives of eleven women educators and social activists_Jane Addams, Mary Sheldon Barnes, Mary Ritter Beard, Rachel Davis DuBois, Hazel Hertzberg, Alice Miel, Lucy Sprague Mitchell, Bessie Pierce, Lucy Maynard Salmon, Hilda Taba, and Marion Thompson Wright_concerned over the last century with issues of difference in schools and society. This volume's reconstruction of 'hidden history' reveals the importance of these women to contemporary debate about gender, pluralism, and education in a democracy. Characterized by views of education that were constructivist, customized, and transformative, their lives and ideas present an alternative model to dominant conceptualizations of education_one sensitive to the demands of pluralism within civil education long before the present-day debates about multiculturalism.
Historians of education and women, curriculum theorists, and social studies educators should read Bending the Future. We should heed the editors' advice to continue resurrecting educators lost to history and to continue asking what is left out of the social studies curriculum. As importantly, we should heed Hertzberg's recommendations that historians and social studies experts stop criticizing each other and start cooperating, discussing how to create a curriculum that effectively integrates these disciplines and teaches diversity without divisiveness. This book is a fine source to ignite that discussion.