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Binaries, boundaries, and hierarchies : the spatial relations of city schooling in Nanaimo, British Columbia

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Title: Binaries, boundaries, and hierarchies : the spatial relations of city schooling in Nanaimo, British Columbia
Author: Brown, Helen Harger
Degree Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
Program Educational Studies
Copyright Date: 1999
Subject Keywords Education -- British Columbia -- Nanaimo -- History -- 19th century; Public schools -- British Columbia -- Nanaimo -- History -- 19th century
Abstract: Urban School Boards and City Councils in British Columbia worked in tandem with provincial officials in Victoria to expand the state school system in the 1890s. In discharging their responsibilities, the Boards functioned with considerable independence. They built and maintained schools, appointed and ranked teachers, and organized students. During the course of the decade, City Councils acquired the responsibility for school finance. Nineteenth-century British Columbia education history, written from a centralist perspective, has articulated the idea of a dominant centre and subordinate localities, but this interpretation is not sufficient to explain the development of public schooling in Nanaimo hi the 1890s. The centralist interpretation does not allow for the real historical complexity of the school system. Neither does it accommodate the possibility of successful local resistance to central initiatives, nor the extent to which public schooling was produced locally. It is important, then, to examine what kind of context Nanaimo constituted for state schooling in the last years of the century. This study concludes that civic leaders and significant interest groups in the community believed schooling played an important boundary making role in forging civic, racial, gender, and occupational identities. In carrying out their interlocking responsibilities for providing physical space and organizing teachers and students, the Nanaimo School Trustees created opportunities for local girls and, within limits, for women. The Trustees limited opportunities for local men, and went outside the community for men who had the professional credentials which were increasingly desirable in the late-nineteenth century. Both the traditions of self-help and the imperatives of corporate capitalism intersected in school production in late-nineteenth century Nanaimo. The focus on securing identities through the differentiating processes of boundaries and hierarchies which was evident in Nanaimo was typical of a wider colonial discourse at the end of the nineteenth century.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/9826
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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