Towards a critical historical geography of education 2: history, space and the unequal geographies of educational power.

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Historical Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM (MDT)
Room: Zulu, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Organizers: Sol Gamsu, Francisca Corbalan Possel, Kirsty Morrin
Chairs: Francisca Corbalan Possel


Over the past decade, there has been a resurgence of research that has viewed education through a spatial and geographical lens (McCreary et al., 2013; Holloway et al., 2011; Thiem, 2009; Butler and Hamnett, 2007). With certain exceptions however (Mitchell, 2003; Symes, 2007; Gulson and Parkes, 2009; Hunter, 2015; Morrin, 2015; Gamsu, 2016), very little of this recent work has taken an approach which weaves together history and geography to ‘place education in a trinity of contexts: of time, of place and of society’ (Marsden 1987: 2). Much work in the new geographies of education has taken as its starting point the unequal spatial dynamics of neoliberalism and we wish to rather trace the longer lineages of social and spatial change which underpin current educational inequalities. The important political protests against statues of imperialist or confederate historical figures in now multi-racial university campuses across the world, underline the continuing lingering presence of histories of racial oppression within our schools and universities. Situating ourselves within a call for a critical geography of education (Nguyen, Cohen, Huff, 2017), we wish to explore how a spatial analysis of education over time can extend our analysis of the uneven geographies of educational power.

Contributors may wish to examine but should not feel limited to the following themes:

Historical hierarchies of schools and universities and how they have persisted or changed in local neighbourhoods, cities or regions.
Colonial legacies and how they continue to shape contemporary geographies of education
Symbols and statues and histories of racism on university campuses
The use of history by schools and universities in contemporary institutional narratives.
Spatial patterns of accumulation of cultural and economic capital by schools or universities
Neoliberalism and local, regional or national histories of education – how has neoliberalism interacted with older forms of governance in shaping contemporary geographies of education?
Land ownership and education – the historical and contemporary role of educational institutions in re-shaping cities through land purchases and sales
Architecture and education - preservation of historic forms of university architecture as forms of institutional prestige, the role of symbolic statues in
Methods to measure educational power over time at different geographical scales
Dialectics of education – how do city forms and structures combine with education over time?


Butler T and Hamnett C. (2007) The geography of education: Introduction. Urban Studies 44: 1161-1174.
Gamsu S. (2016) Moving up and moving out: The re-location of elite and middle-class schools from central London to the suburbs. Urban Studies 53: 2921-2938.
Gulson KN and Parkes RJ. (2009) In the shadows of the mission: Education policy, urban space, and the ‘colonial present’in Sydney. Race ethnicity and education 12: 267-280.
Holloway SL, Brown G and Pimlott-Wilson H. (2011) Editorial introduction: geographies of education and aspiration. Children's Geographies 9: 1-5.
Hunter M. (2015) The Race for Education: Class, White Tone, and Desegregated Schooling in South Africa. Journal of Historical Sociology: n/a-n/a.
McCreary T, Basu R and Godlewska A. (2013) Critical Geographies of Education: Introduction to the Special Issue. The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien 57: 255-259.
Mitchell, K. (2003). Educating the national citizen in neoliberal times: from the multicultural self to the strategic cosmopolitan. Transactions of the institute of British geographers, 28(4), 387-403.
Morrin K. (2015) Unresolved reflections: Bourdieu, haunting and struggling with ghosts. In: Thatcher J, Ingram N, Burke C, et al. (eds) Bourdieu: The Next Generation: The Development of Bourdieu's Intellectual Heritage in Contemporary UK Sociology. London: Routledge, 123-.
Nguyen, N., Cohen, D., & Huff, A. (2017). Catching the bus: A call for critical geographies of education. Geography Compass, 11(8).
Symes C. (2007) On the right track: Railways and schools in late nineteenth century Sydney. In: Gulson KN and Symes C (eds) Spatial theories of education : policy and geography matters. New York: Routledge, 175-194.
Thiem CH. (2009) Thinking through education: the geographies of contemporary educational restructuring. Progress in Human Geography 33: 154-173.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Introduction Kirsty Morrin 20 10:00 AM
Presenter Juan Oyarzun*, CJE UC, Rejected spaces, uncertain futures: a study on the influence of neoliberalism on rural education and rural students’ paths. 20 10:20 AM
Presenter Olivia Ildefonso*, CUNY - Graduate Center, Imagining Beyond Racially Integrated Schools: Racial Capitalism and the Failure of School Integration Efforts 20 10:40 AM
Discussant Albina Gibadullina University of British Columbia 20 11:00 AM

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