Sample Paper and Panel Descriptions from ISEB 2018

We offer some examples of the variety of papers and panels that have been presented at ISEB to convey the diversity and scope of topics. We welcome a variety of topics and methodological explorations. These papers were presented in 2018.


Dr. Gerald L. Gutek, Professor Emeritus, Education, Loyola University Chicago

"Historians of education such as Cremin and Hinitz have treated Margaret Naumburg (1890-1963) as a leader in child-centered progressive education.  Taking a broader biographical perspective, the paper examines four phases in Naumburg’s life: (1) as a pioneer American Montessori educator, 1913-1916; (2) as the founder of the progressive Children’s/Walden School, 1916-1928; (3) as a Spiritualist Parapsychology researcher, 1929-1939; (4) as a leader in developing Art Therapy.

Naumburg was trained as a directress by Maria Montessori in her First International Training Course in 1913.  Naumburg conducted Montessori schools in New York City at Lillian Wald’s Settlement House, at Public School 4, and the private Lette School.  After undergoing psychoanalysis with the Jungian therapist, Beatrice Hinkle, Naumburg infused psychoanalytic theory into her educational method. While Naumburg has aptly been called a “mother of progressive education, she could easily be designated as the woman who introduced the unconscious into progressive education.  Her discovery of Freud and Jung and her own psychoanalysis added a deep psychoanalytic current to her educational philosophy. Psychoanalysis supported the Montessori and progressive criticism that traditional schools had over emphasized verbal, word-based, instruction in which a students’ success was measured by their mastery and ability to repeat what the teacher and the textbook said.  Naumburg now believed that educators needed to free children to unlock the creative powers of their unconscious.

Naumburg, in 1916, founded the Children’s/Walden School, a child-centered progressive school whose eclectic curriculum, especially art and dance, sought to free children from all forms of repression in order to free their creative self-expression.  After leaving Walden in 1928, Naumburg was associated with Eileen Garrett, an Irish spiritualist and a medium at the British College of Psychic Science, who came to the United States in 1931 with the support of the American Society for Psychical Research. In the 1940s and 1950s, Naumburg became a leader in the emerging field of Art Therapy which integrated her earlier endeavors in art education and psychoanalysis. Her work focused on using the projective technique of “free” art expression in therapy sessions to provide information and to help release in art what children have difficulty expressing verbally. As a contribution to educational biography, the paper interprets how phases of intellectual relate to the construction of a philosophy of education.

Sources: Margaret Naumburg papers, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania; Blythe Hinitz, “Margaret Naumburg and the Walden School,” in Alan R. Sadovnik and Susan F. Semel, Founding Mothers and Others: Women Educational Leaders During the Progressive Era ( New York: Palgrave, 2002); Margaret Naumburg, The Child and the World: Dialogues in Modern Education (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1928); Margaret Naumburg, An Introduction to Art Therapy: Studies of the “Free” Art Expression of Behavior Problem Children and Adolescents as a Means of Diagnosis and Therapy (New York: Teachers College Press, 1973)."


Navigating the Road Through Doctoral Programs [Panel Presentation]

Rosalinda Ortiz, Jessica DuBois, and Emilee Mabrey

Ball State University

As budding researchers and practitioners in education, navigating the road to completing a doctoral degree is often confusing and frustrating. The road is full of detours, u-turns, dead ends, and rough patches. Ultimately, the destination is worth the journey, but being a passenger along for the ride, is very different than being in the driver's seat. Through personal experience, participant interviews, and story telling, members of the panel explore and explain the journey though the doctoral program in education


Educational Biographies of Universities: Reimagining Beneficence Through the Eyes of the Women

Professor Thalia Mulvilhill

Ball State University

        “It is a hard thing to make up stories to live by. We can only retell and live by the stories we have read or heard. We live our lives through texts. They may be read, or chanted, or experienced electronically, or come to us, like the murmurings of our mothers, telling us what conventions demand. Whatever their form or medium, these stories have formed us all; they are what we must use to make new fictions, new narratives.” Carolyn Heilbrun, from Writing a Woman’s Life.
This educational biography study investigated the lives and unique contributions of the women of the Ball family, with a particular focus on the period from 1822-1926, by employing historical, sociological and qualitative research methodologies, and suggests a new methodological approach applying educational biography methods to institutions of higher education. Through examination of significant public and private archival collections, field notes from in-depth interviews and related secondary literature the study hopes to contribute to the larger literature about women, higher education and philanthropy. This preliminary inquiry revealed that no substantial historical treatment of the Ball Family women has ever been attempted. This project has the potential to add to the developing historical literature about the role women have played in shaping higher education through thoughtful and strategic philanthropy. The goals for the project included, establishing a cohesive historical record of the women of the Ball Family using all available documents and creating a narrative that highlights the many unique contributions of the women of the Ball Family including placing them within the larger literature about women and higher education


One African American Woman’s Moxie: Integrating St. Louis’ Suburbs in the Early 1960s        

Professor Vanessa Garry                

This paper is a biographical vignette about Ruth Porter, Executive Secretary for the Greater St. Louis Freedom of Residence Committee (FoR). FoR was founded in 1961 when a St. Louis attorney convinced his peers to help create an organization advocating for African Americans’ freedom to choose where they lived. One of his recruits enlisted Ruth Porter who became a founding member of the group and eventually became the executive secretary. Though Porter arrived in St. Louis from Chicago in 1959 and worked for the YMCA for two years in Kinloch, Missouri, a small African American enclave; the focus of this paper is her work with FoR. The primary sources used to construct Porter’s community activism include FoR’s papers, newspaper articles, interviews with former FoR members, and an audio recording of the organization’s history by a founder.

Porter’s interest in establishing FoR was likely fueled by the many African Americans living in ghettos established during the Jim Crow era. The unfolding story reveals how Porter helped bring awareness to housing discrimination by becoming the face of FoR. She was responsible for not only serving on panels hosted by many St. Louis suburban communities discussing integration, but also aiding African Americans denied housing. For example, as a panelist, Porter dispelled the narrative that integration decreased White American homeowners’ property values. FoR’s most significant accomplishment was winning the landmark Supreme Court case, Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Company involving a mixed couple’s inability to purchase a suburban home. Essentially, the Court siding with Jones barred all racial discrimination in the private and public sale or rental of property, making housing discrimination illegal. Porter did not live to see the victory; however, members attributed a lot of the success of the organization to her tenacity and continuous push for justice.


Facing Atrocities, Traumas and the Inhuman: Pilgrimage into Witness Consciousness        

Professor Roy Tamashiro, Webster University

In the book, "Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive," the philosopher Giorgio Agambem (2002) observes that “Human beings are human insofar as they bear witness to the inhuman” (p. 212) upon looking closely at the literature of the survivors of Auschwitz, and probing the philosophical and ethical questions raised by their testimony. This paper explores the meaning, the intrapsychic and psychosocial dynamics of setting the bearing witness process into motion, especially when bearing witness to experiences and memories of mass suffering and societal trauma. Examples of narratives from survivor-witness-observers in the 1968 My Lai Massacre in Vietnam and the seven-year (1947-54) Jeju 4.3 Massacre in South Korea illustrate several paths in the process of bearing witness to extreme human pain and of massive psychic trauma. Some paths may lead to healing, reconciliation, and the reclamation of one’s dignity after it has been shattered. On the other hand, the process can also result in re-traumatization or failure to find meaning, wholeness and healing. From these case examples, I propose guidelines for listening, for holding space, and for mindfulness practices which may be helpful in navigating the steps in the witness bearing process.


Krishnamurti as a Teacher Educator: Learning from dialogues with teachers

Professor Raji Swaminathan, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

“Biography… uncovers sources of illumination, and helps us disaggregate and reconstruct large heavenly pictures…”(Finkelstein, 1998; P. 46).

In this paper I examine the life of J. Krishnamurti as an educator. Several biographies of Krishnamurti exist, however they are focused on his early life, his enlightenment process, and his appeal as a ‘world teacher.’ Most of these do not focus much on Krishnamurti, the educator, despite his having founded several schools around the world. While it is no doubt difficult to separate his talks about meditation or sorrow from the schooling and teaching of subjects like history that are part of the schools that he founded, as a teacher educator myself, I am interested in how his talks with teachers might point to ideas on teacher education and to specific pedagogies.

Krishnamurti’s vision of education went beyond schooling to a transformation of the mind, where the central concern is to free the individual to live a life without fear or conflict. Although he refused to outline a pedagogical praxis, his talks and dialogues with teachers give us some clues as to the ways in which teachers can initiate or provide the conditions for such ‘awakening’ to take place. They also point to ways in which the teacher can engage in critical reflection.

Writing educational biography about an educator who did not wish his personality to be centralized presents a representational challenge. I draw on the work of Craig Kridel (1998), Louis M. Smith (1994), Joyce Antler (1989) and Sara Lawrence Lightfoot (1988) methodologically in my writing. Through the life experiences of Krishnamurti and his talks and dialogues with teachers, I will examine how the ideas of progressive education are enmeshed in his philosophy and how they differ from taken for granted characteristics of progressive and democratic or even holistic education.


Mind-Bodies Resisting Cure in Dark Times

Lucy E. Bailey, Oklahoma State University

This roundtable draws from Eli Clare’s (2017) concept of “mind-body” to weave together varied life writing texts that have been generative for me in a year of political, environmental, and human turmoil after the 2016 election. All contain auto/biographical components that speak to our enduring conference theme, “educator’s lives and lives that are educative.” In this discussion, I underscore the educational value of life-writing as a source of solace, possibility, and connection in dark times. Clare’s concept of mind-body resists the Cartesian mind/body split that governs Western thought to embrace diverse corporeal ontologies. I ponder this concept in relation to Roxane Gay’s new memoir,
Hunger (2017), Terry Tempest Williams’ reflections on family and place, in Refuge (1991), and Sherman Alexie’s memoir on his mother’s death, You Don’t Have to Say you Love Me (2017).

The final line of Alexie’s memoir captures the spirit of these 4 texts and our own shifting sense of mindbody ontologies when our foundations are shaken: “I don’t know how or when my grieving will end, but I’m always Relearning how to be human again.” (454).