Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
Literary culture and the professionalization of early childhood teachers: The case of the Hebrew institutes in Russia and Eastern Europe, 1909 – 1925
Yordanka Valkanova

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


It is commonly acknowledged that early childhood ‘professionalization’ in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was prompted by feminist reform movements that induced progressive ideological change in the preschools. As more and more diverse groups of kindergarten non-trained activists entered the field of early education, however, its scope broadened and embraced national ideologies, ethicized self-identifications and cultural aspirations. Early childhood education was thereby placed alongside other value systems, and professionalization was seen as related to more defused social and cultural attitudes. This study focuses on constructions of professionalism in the published and unpublished writings of a literary network of Hebrew kindergarten activists who founded Froebel Institutes in Warsaw, Odessa, Moscow, Kiev and Kishinev before and after the World War I. In particular, it looks at how literary culture contributed to the reconfiguration of the meaning of kindergarten professionalization in the beginning of the 20th century and seeks to explicate the role of Froebelian pedagogy in the creation of a space, a surrogate Jewish homeland. Significant for this study is the outline of the subject-object relation in Lev Vygotsky’s concept of ‘the self’ that allows us to interpret teachers’ and students’ identity formation as a process rather than a finished, stable entity, e.g. to look at how the identities arose and developed. A variety of archive sources are being used, including YOVO, the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem, archives in Russia, the former Soviet states Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, as well as Rumania and Poland.  The analysis suggests that the common conception shared by the Hebraists bristles with antagonistic polarities, offering an invitation for a dialectical interpretation.  The discourse bore the marks of hostility and oppression. Ultimately, Zionist’s political status contributed to the Hebraists professional exclusivity. The reasons for persecution and discrimination in the Russian Empire have prompted the young reformists to search for gains, and adhere to their Modern Hebrew sub-identities as a way to protect themselves from social injustices.