1st Edition

The Curriculum of the Body and the School as Clinic Histories of Public Health and Schooling

Edited By Kellie Burns, Helen Proctor Copyright 2024
    258 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    258 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This collection brings together cutting-edge research on the history of embodiment, health and schooling in an international context. The book distinguishes a set of educational technologies, schooling practices and school-based public health programmes that organise and influence the bodies of children and young people, defining the curriculum of the body.

    Taking a historical approach, with a focus on the period in which mass schooling became an international phenomenon, the book is organised according to four major themes. The first positions the school as a modern clinical space, followed by the second that explores programmes and curricula which influence the discipline of and care for the body. The third section examines the role of the built environment on the organisation and experience of children’s bodies, and the final section outlines the pedagogies, rules and routines that determine how the body is treated and experienced in school.

    International and multidisciplinary in scope, this unique collection is of interest to postgraduate students and researchers in education and public health, as well as history, policy studies and sociology.

    Introduction: Bodies, health and schooling

    Kellie Burns and Helen Proctor

    Part 1: Clinical practices

    1. Raising a healthy nation: Provisioning public health in English schools, c. 1875–1914

    Jim Harris

    2. Schooling and medical assistance: The school clinics in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

    Heloísa Helena Pimenta Rocha and Henrique Mendonça da Silva

    3. The mediation of childhood health during the polio era in Australia 

    Kellie Burns, Helen Proctor, Ilektra Spandagou and Heather Weaver

    Part 2: Programmes and policies

    4. Educating the underworked: Dudley Allen Sargent and the influence of the rural worker on American physical culture, 1875–1919

    Jason L. Newton

    5. Determining biological citizenship: Creating and effacing difference in Puerto Rico’s education

    Bethsaida Nieves

    6. Home economics as a school subject in Denmark: From disciplining girls in the kitchen to providing general knowledge about public health

    Annette Rasmussen and Karen E. Andreasen

    7. In the name of health and comprehensive education: Historicising contemporary school health in Chile

    Felipe Hidalgo Kawada

    Part 3: Architecture and spatialities

    8. The classroom as healthy pavilion: Fresh air, natural light, and student bodies in 19th- and 20th-century American schools

    Dale Allen Gyure

    9. Escaping indoorness: Education and architecture in Italy’s summer camps during the Fascist era

    Paolo Sanza

    10. Architecture of health: Hygiene and schooling in Hong Kong, 1901–1941

    Stella Meng Wang

    11. Better Towns: Building healthy communities in New Zealand school texts

    Frances Kelly

    Part 4: Routines and disciplinary practices

    12. Glimpses into the black box of schooling: Continuities and discontinuities in ‘gymnastics between the desks’, 1880s–1970s

    Marta Brunelli

    13. Who owns the body of the child? Human rights and corporal punishment in 1980s Australia

    Helen Proctor, Kellie Burns and David Magro

    14. Historical and contemporary perspectives on gendered school uniforms in Australia

    Heather Weaver


    Kellie Burns is a historical sociologist at the University of Sydney interested in the intersections of gender, sexuality, health and schooling. Her research investigates the socio-historical role of schools as public health spaces across the late 19th and early 20th centuries, examining how ideas about childhood disease and health were constructed. She is also engaged in various projects about vaccination literacy and school-based vaccination clinics, historically and contemporaneously.

    Helen Proctor is a professor of education at the University of Sydney, who uses historical methods and perspectives to examine the making of contemporary educational systems. She is interested in the history of how schools have shaped social and cultural life beyond the school gate, and how a range of relationships between schools, families and ‘communities’ have formed and changed from the late 19th to the early 21st centuries.