ISCHE Pre-Conference Workshop, Istanbul 2015

The Concept of the Transnational

Approaches – Research Areas – Challenges


ISCHE Pre-Conference Workshop, Istanbul University

23 June 2015


Convenors: Eugenia Roldán Vera and Eckhardt Fuchs


Transnational history has arrived at the field of history of education. Within the past few years a rising number of publications, including articles in Paedagogica Historica, have been investigating the travel, reception and adaptation of educational ideas and practices. This reflects a paradigmatic shift that historical scholarship has been facing lately. The globalization process has opened new perspectives for research that go beyond the traditional historical narratives mainly based on the nation state. The ever increasing volume, channels and speed of transnational motion of ideas, goods, and people has driven scholars to find new ways to conceptualize historical actors’ movements and global networks. However, transnational approaches vary, there is no consensus yet about their theoretical contexts and appropriate methods and there has not been yet a thoroughly and systematic reflection on the challenges of transnational history to historical investigation in general (for the most recent attempt see the edition by Popkevitz [2013]). In addition, transnational history is a controversially debated issue within the overall field of history of education – proponents and opponents have not had the chance yet to exchange their views at the same stage.

This workshop aims at addressing transnational history from a conceptual point of view taking the above mentioned issues into account. Conceptual history and historical semantics, diverse fields in themselves (e.g. Koselleck; Skinner), investigate the history of terms and of semantic fields paying particular attention to the contexts in which concepts and so-called “languages” are coined, their varied uses by different actors, their changes over time, and, more recently, the ways in which they have been “translated” into other contexts. With regard to the concepts “transnational/international” we would like to discuss them by looking at their history in different intellectual contexts, their theoretical foundations, and their usage by historians. This includes a reflection about the various methods applied to transnational research, and the challenges the “transnational” concept poses on the field of history of education. Altogether, the proposed pre-conference will try to problematize the concept “transnational”, contribute to a more systematic and theoretically well-founded reflection on this approach for the history of education, and at the same time, to its operationalization.

ISCHE Context:

The pre-conference follows up activities within ISCHE. Eckhardt Fuchs was one of the convenors of the Standing Working Group on Cross-Cultural Influences in the History of Education (2005-2009). In addition, roundtables on international and transnational history were organized at the ISCHE conferences in Amsterdam 2010 and Geneva 2012. In 2010 and 2013 two workshops on transnational relations with the focus on colonial education took place in Kolkata and Cape Town under the umbrella of ISCHE. In 2015 ISCHE will start a new book series “Global Educational Histories: Networks, Circulations and Actors”.


Workshop Design:

  • The main purpose of the workshop is to discuss the presentations.
  • Therefore, all presentations will be distributed among the participants prior the workshop – deadline for submitting the papers to the two convenors is 31 May.
  • Each presenter has max. 10 min to summarize her/his paper in the session.
  • Each discussant has max. 15 min for her/his commentary.



12:00 Introduction Eugenia Roldán Vera (CINVESTAV, Mexico) – Eckhardt Fuchs (Georg Eckert Institute, Germany)
Session 1:   Concept(s)

12:10 – 13:30

Chair: Marc Depaepe

Discussant: Daniel Tröhler

  • The Concept of the Transnational (Eckhardt Fuchs/Eugenia Roldán Vera)
  • Transnational and Transcultural Perspectives: Approaches to Studying the Circulation and Transfer of Educational Knowledge (Christine Mayer)
  • History of Education and the Concept of Cultural Transfer (Alexandre Fontaine)
13:30 – 13:45 Break
Session 2: Case Studies I

13:45 – 15:30

Chair: Kate Rousmaniere

Discussant: Inés Dussel

  • Toru Dutt: 19th Century Transnational Educational Histories from South Asia (Barnita Bagchi)
  • Adaptations of Adaptation. On how an Educational Concept Travels from the Heartlands to the Hinterlands (Elsie Rockwell)
  • Harry Messel in the Transnational Conversation (Jennifer Clark)
  • Crafting Globalization – A Historical Inquiry into the Global Role and Impact of the OECD in the Field of Education, 1961-2016 (Christian Ydesen)
15:30 – 15:45 Break
Session 3: Case Studies II

15:45 – 17:30

Chair: Maria del Mar del Pozo Andrés

Discussant: Nelleke Bakker

  • Transnational Imagery? Circulation and Transformation of Images of the Monitorial Classroom (Marcelo Caruso)
  • Gustave Le Bon Mediating International Intellectual, Political and Military Networks (Jorge Warde)
  • The Case of the History of Day Nurseries in Europe (Dorena Caroli)
  • (Re)thinking History of Education after the Transnational Turn” : Perspectives from two on-going Research Projects (Joelle Droux, Damiano Matasci)
17:30 – 17:45 Break
Session 4: Challenges

17:45– 19:15

Chair: Frank Simon

Discussant: Sabine Reh

  • Transnational Accounts and the Gendering of Cosmopolitanism (Joyce Goodman)
  • Questioning the Transnational in Scholarship on French and British Imperial History of Education (Rebecca Rogers)
  • Transnational & Comparative History: Thinking About the Self and Others (Thomas Popkewitz)
19:15 – 19:45 Conclusion:

Eugenia Roldán Vera /Eckhardt Fuchs



Eugenia Roldán Vera:

Eckhardt Fuchs:


Place: Institute of Avrasya (Madrasa of Seyyid Hasan Pasha)

ISCHE 37 Pre-conference workshop sessions will be held in Istanbul University, Institute of Avrasya. Institute is located next to the Faculty of Letters, in the “Madrasa of Seyyid Hasan Pasha” (Seyyid Hasan Paşa Medresesi).

How to reach: On Ordu Road (Tramway) there is stairs next to the Faculty of Letters Building. Take the stairs and walk 50 metres, at the right hand side you will see the madrasah entrance. See map 1 (6) (18),

Address: Balabanağa Mahallesi Kimyager Derviş Paşa Sokak No:16 Beyazıt-Istanbul. Webpage: