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Peripheries at the Centre: Borderland Schooling in Interwar Europe

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Volume 27

Contemporary European History

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Peripheries at the Centre

Borderland Schooling in Interwar Europe

Machteld Venken

Made available under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license with support from University of Luxembourg.

302 pages, 8 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-967-9 $130.00/£96.00 Hb Not Yet Published (March 2021)

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


Peripheries at the Centre shows how the international border settlements after the First World War worked (or did not work) on the ground. We learn how pupils, their parents, and their principals maneuvered through changing legal and administrative regimes, and how those regimes were often riven by contradictions and failures in their application. Venken’s thought-provoking theses should interest scholars concerned with how international and national dynamics shape the everyday experiences, subjectivities, and scope of action for children in a variety of contested areas.” • Katherine Lebow, Oxford University

Peripheries at the Centre is a notable intervention in social history and an innovative contribution to current historiographical debates. It offers a deep comparison of German peripheral regions after 1918 in Poland and Belgium, and it sets up a theoretically sophisticated European analysis of the limits and inadequacies of nationally framed reform pedagogy, giving voice to children’s modernity.” • Steven Seegel, University of Northern Colorado


Following the Treaty of Versailles, European nation-states were faced with the challenge of instilling national loyalty in their new borderlands, in which fellow citizens often differed dramatically from one another along religious, linguistic, cultural, or ethnic lines. Peripheries at the Centre compares the experiences of schooling in Upper Silesia in Poland and Eupen, Sankt Vith, and Malmedy in Belgium — border regions detached from the German Empire after the First World War. It demonstrates how newly configured countries envisioned borderland schools and language learning as tools for realizing the imagined peaceful Europe that underscored the political geography of the interwar period.

Machteld Venken is Professor of Contemporary Transnational History at the Centre for Contemporary and Digital History of the University of Luxembourg. She is the author of Straddling the Iron Curtain? Immigrants, Immigrant Organisations, War Memories (2011) and editor of Growing Up in the Shadow of the Second World War: European Perspectives (2015, with Maren Röger).

Subject: History: 20th Century to Present Educational Studies
Area: Germany Central/Eastern Europe

Peripheries at the Centre by Machteld Venken is is available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) with support from University of Luxembourg.

OA ISBN: 978-1-78920-969-3


List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations


Chapter 1. Schools, Language and Children During the First World War
Chapter 2. A Framework of Comparison
Chapter 3. Making the Border
Chapter 4. Scaping the Border
Chapter 5. A Universal Childhood


Appendix: Belgian and Polish Governments and Ministers Responsible for Education


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