Curriculum, History, and “Progress”

  • Helen ProctorEmail author
Living reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


This chapter offers an introduction to some key concepts in curriculum history, as it has developed as a field of study from the 1970s onwards, and to the section of the Reader entitled “Curriculum Development, Contestation, and Resistance.” The first two parts of the chapter consider, respectively, the meaning of “curriculum” from a historical perspective (what curriculum has been understood to mean, mostly within the larger field of education) and historical examples in the politics of curriculum making (how knowledge is made into curriculum and how curriculum is a site of struggle over “progress”). This is not a linear history of a unified field and certainly does not claim to be exhaustive. Instead, these two parts are structured by a sequence of questions and interpretations that have come from and are applied to a range of useful writings published from the 1970s to the 2010s. The chapter then turns to a discussion of the contributions of the seven following chapters to the theme “educational knowledge and mass education.”.


Curriculum history Curriculum studies History of knowledge Theorizing schooling Curriculum politics 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Arts and Social SciencesThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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