Brianna Lafoon

  • Fellowship year:2022-2023
  • University: University of Wisconsin- Madison
  • Dissertation Topic/Category: United States
  • Dissertation Title: Island Chains: The American Imperial Education Web in the Early Twentieth Century
  • My dissertation traces the connections between progressive era schooling reforms and American empire. Focusing on Puerto Rico and the Philippines between 1898 and the 1920s, the study exposes linkages between schooling initiatives in these territories and educational trends that became foundational to US mass schooling. The financial neglect of each territory shaped the type of educational practices that eventually flowed back to the mainland and shaped school systems in the
    US and around the globe.

    The first part of the dissertation emphasizes the effect that funding issues and financial neglect had on shaping the American school systems in both Puerto Rico and the Philippines. The next part of the dissertation traces how these practices developed and how educators brought back their new understandings about the use of statistics, centralization and bureaucracy, and practical education to the US mainland. These practices became central to the development of widespread compulsory education in the 20 th century in the US and around the globe.