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Our Civilizing Mission: The Lessons of Colonial Education

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLiverpool
PublisherLiverpool University Press
Number of pages354
ISBN (Electronic)9781786949684
ISBN (Print)9781786941763
Accepted/In press2019
Published30 May 2019

Publication series

NameContemporary French & Francophone Cultures
PublisherLiverpool University Press

King's Authors


Our Civilizing Mission is at once an exploration of colonial education and a response to current anxieties about the historical and conceptual foundations of the ‘humanities’. On the one hand, it treats colonial education as a facet of colonialism. It draws on a rich body of work by ‘colonized’ writers – starting with Edward Said, then focusing on Algeria – that attests to the suffering inflicted by colonialism, to the shortcomings of colonial education, and to the often painful mismatch between the world of the colonial school and students’ home cultures. On the other hand, it asks what can be learned by treating colonial education not just as an example of colonialism but as a provocative, uncomfortable example of education, and its powers of transformation.

'This is a deeply insightful, stimulating and scholarly book — uncompromisingly reflective, finely argued and carefully referenced, it deepens our understanding of colonial education and legacies in a number of mutually enriching ways that consistently draw out complexity and urge us to think about the teaching of literature. This is a book that will last the test of years and will prompt better scholarship (and, possibly, classroom practice) from the rest of us.'

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